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Dress to Impress: Career Fairs

career fair preparation
Rhonda Sarmento
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Published on September 4, 2014

It’s that time of year again. Students are arriving back to campus, career services offices are planning employer-recruiting events, and companies are beginning to assess their hiring needs. Based off of conversations with your Career Advisor, you have determined that you plan to attend and “Rock the Career Fair,” but are still unsure of what to wear.

Appropriate attire depends on the industry(s) you are targeting and meeting at the career fair. Below are general guidelines you can refer to on what to wear.

Consulting, Federal Government, State Government, & Law

For Career Fairs, these industries are the most conservative, but there are places where you can use a punch of color to show your personality

Men

  • Outfit: Dark-colored suit, light colored shirt, dark dress socks, and matching non-flashy tie (Blue, yellow, green, red, purple, pink – whichever color you choose!)
  • Shoes: Nice black or brown dress shoes
  • Grooming: Recent hair cut and facial hair neatly groomed

Women

  • Outfit: Dark colored pants or skirt suit and plain or patterned blouse with no cleavage (Skirt must come below the knee)
  • Shoes: Nice 2” – 3” black or brown heels (Or red to show some personality!)
  • Grooming: Minimal jewelry and hair styled down or gathered at the back

Environmental Services, Non-Profit, & Tech/Engineering

For Career Fairs, these industries are a bit more on the business casual side (but not too casual!)

Men

  • Outfit: Dark dress pants or dark khakis, button down shirt and matching tie (Think of this as a suit without the jacket!)
  • Shoes: Nice black or brown dress shoes, boat shoes, or casual shoes (No sneakers!)
  • Grooming: Recent hair cut and facial hair neatly groomed

Women

  • Outfit: Dress skirt or pants and plain or patterned blouse with no cleavage (Remember, skirt must come below the knee!)
  • Shoes: Nice 2” – 3” black or brown heels (or red to show some personality!)
  • Grooming: Minimal jewelry and hair styled down or gathered at the back

If you then think, “Those rules don’t apply to me. I’m looking for an internship.” You would be wrong! Remember, an internship can lead to another internship or full time job. Make a lasting first impression and be sure to dress to impress!

Rhonda Sarmento

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