It’s the morning of the career fair. You’ve got your padfolio ready with notes, printed copies of your resume, and your elevator pitch down pat. You feel totally prepared and ready to shine. The only thing you don’t have figured out though, is what you’re going to wear. Suit or no suit? Heels or flats? Tie or no tie? You want to look professional, but you also want to stand out. Am I too dressed up or too dressed down, you ask? At the Business Career Center, we’re here to help you choose an outfit that will make a strong first impression.
First and foremost, before stepping into your outfit, you will want to have excellent hygiene. Make sure that you and your clothes are clean and that your hair is styled neatly. If you’re wearing makeup, it should be minimal and not distracting. If wearing a fragrance, be sure that it is light and not overpowering. Poor hygiene can make a negative impression, so you want to ensure that you are as put together as you can be.
Now onto your clothing! For career fairs and interviews, we at the BCC strongly recommend that you dress in business professional attire. It is the most formal dress option and helps you to look sharp and professional. And, as the saying goes, dress for the job that you want. For business professional, this means that you should wear a pant suit or skirt suit in a solid neutral color (black, blue, or gray). Make sure that it fits properly and that it is pressed to remove any wrinkles. If you want to add some personality to your outfit, shirts and ties are a great way to do that. Woven and printed tops as well as patterned ties are professional but also showcase your individuality. Jewelry can have the same effect. Just make sure that you don’t choose anything too flashy. Lastly, be sure to wear professional, close-toed, and polished shoes. If you choose to wear socks, they should be dress socks. Whether you wear heels or flats is up to you and your comfort level but remember to be conscious of the amount that you will be walking during a career fair.
Ultimately, the outfit that you wear to an interview or career fair should make you feel confident and comfortable. You should feel that you look your best and are putting your best foot forward. Your inner confidence should be shining through to your outward demeanor! Additionally, if you find yourself fidgeting in your outfit or pulling at your clothes a lot, then perhaps you should consider other pieces. While your attire is business professional, it doesn’t mean that you should be uncomfortable in your outfit. Your outfit can be professional and put together while also feeling good on your body.
If you have further questions about professional dress tips, please stop by the Smeal College of Business, Business Career Center in 114 Business Building. We are happy to guide you through your clothing considerations and give you tips on how to look your best.