Do’s and Don’ts of dressing for a career fair


Jessica Darland/Iowa State Daily

Kimberly Ferguson, sophomore in mathematics, talks to Mutual of Omaha financial advisor Nick Billups at the Career Fair on Feb. 11 at Hilton Colosseum. 

Molly Hawks

The time has come to start preparing for the fast-approaching career fairs. No matter the career field, the dress standards are all about the same: simple and clean.

A suit is the best option for men and women. It’s classic and guaranteed to make anyone look career ready. Students should not dye their hair to look like a rainbow and should keep it from covering their eyes. As fun as rainbow-colored might be, it usually isn’t well received in the professional world.

Career Fair Do’s

1. Keep your face clear and clean.

This is for both ladies and gentlemen. Groom or comb eyebrows and consider removing any piercings other than one ear piercing. Some businesses are open to piercings, but that can be hard to judge in the career fair setting, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

2. Men, pick a shirt that fits properly and is tailored well.

A collar that is too loose or tight will affect how the tie hangs, and because the collar is closest to the face, it should look pristine.

Pick a jacket that will complete the look. It should match, and how it fits is crucial. It shouldn’t be too long or short, and it should fit the shoulders. Be aware of loading the pockets with too many items because this could create bumps in the jacket. A two or three-buttoned suit is better than a double-breasted suit. 

3. Pick simple shoes.

Ladies should wear close-toed shoes that have a heel no longer than three inches.

Men should match the belt to the shoes. Believe it or not, recruiters notice these little details, and it looks much more put together when everything is cohesive.

Do nots of career fair

1. Don’t chew gum while talking to recruiters and career professionals.

This is distracting to everyone. 

2. Don’t go crazy when picking out a shirt.

Ladies, pick a blouse that is not too sheer or ruffly. Also consider how much your top resembles lingerie. Anything that might look like lingerie should not be worn. Women should also always veer on the more conservative side. Cleavage is not the right impression to give a possible future employer.

3. Don’t pick the bacon socks.

Although bacon-printed socks could be fun for a night out with friends, they’re not appropriate for a job search at a career fair.

Professional outfits are meant to enhance a proper and professional image but not change the student’s personality.