How to Dress for a Job Fair

While the term "professional dress" means different things in different occupations, one thing is certain:You must look polished when you attend an interview or job fair.

Some students make the mistake of dressing for a job fair or interview as they would on the job. In many cases, you can dress much more casually on the job than you should for an interview or job fair. Remember, you have to get the job before you can dress like someone who already has a job!

Below are a few tips on dressing professionally for job interviews and job fairs.

Professional Not-so-Professional
  • Business suit in a conservative color (navy, gray, or black are preferred); women may wear suits with either a skirt or pants
  • For men:dress shirtand tie
  • For women:blouse that complements the suit; neckline no lower than collarbone; skirt hem should be no more than two inches above the knee
  • Clothes clean and pressed
  • Shoes: for menwing tips or loafers with dark socks; for womenlow/medium heels or flats with neutral hose.
  • Khakis, jeans, or sweats
  • Shirt tail not tucked in
  • Stains or wrinkles
  • Shoes run down at the heels, scuffed, or not polished
  • White socks
  • Colored hose or hose with runs or snags in them
  • Low necklines
  • Hemlines on skirts more than two inches above the knee; pants above the ankle
  • Too tight or too loose clothing
  • Revealing or provocative
  • Necktie not properly tied
  • Clean and styled
  • Off your face
  • For men - short hair is preferable; facial hair should be groomed
  • Dirty or unkempt
  • Excessively long bangs
  • Playing with your hair
  • Minimal jewelry:small earrings (one pair only), necklaces, pins, etc. (wedding/engagement rings are acceptable)
  • Good-quality briefcase or portfolio to hold papers
  • Cell phone is turned off
  • Visible tattoos or piercings
  • Excessive or large jewelry
  • Disorganized materials
  • Cell phone rings during interview
  • Heavy or excessive scents