A professional image is important in any interview or career fair. We recommend dressing one notch above what a current employee of your intended company would regularly wear to work. This may require some research. Call around, look on the Internet, talk to former employees, or call the human resources office and ask about appropriate attire for your interview.
Err on the side of caution and wear a suit or something close to it. When trying an outfit on, determine your level of comfort in that particular suit. A certain level of discomfort is okay (for instance, if you are not accustomed to dressing up), but your confidence is key. If you feel confident, you will act and speak confidently. Here are some general do’s and don’ts of professional apparel:
Wear a classically cut suit of quality fabric.
|Wear tight, ill-fitting or sheer clothing.
|Buy the matching skirt/pants.
||Let hair get in the way. Keep it pulled back in a simple style.
|Make sure your skirt comes to your knees, even when sitting.
||Wear a lot of makeup; keep it natural.
|Opt for blue or black.
||Put on too much perfume; apply two hours before an interview, if possible.
|Wear pantyhose, if its an industry standard like finance or banking.
||Don’t over-accessorize. Keep it to a 13-piece maximum (e.g. watch, scarf, each button, earring, necklace or ring). Anything more is distracting.
|Wear polished, closed-toe leather shoes with low to medium heels. No strappy designs or sandals.
||Wear any piercings or allow body art to be visible.
|Bring a portfolio or briefcase instead of a purse.Keep it simple.
||Have chipped nail polish. Do keep the color subtle.
|Be prepared for multiple interviews. Mix and match blouse colors, skirts, pants, or jackets.
Expressing Your Personality
There is no reason you can’t show a little of your own personality, as long as you do it carefully. The easiest way to show off a unique personality is through color (used sparingly). An accessory such as a scarf, blouse or shoes in your favorite color can be a small clue to the interviewer of who you are. Remember that an interview is the time to conform in appearance; allow your verbal skills and intelligence to demonstrate your individuality.
Some networking events and career fairs recommend business casual attire. This varies greatly between industries, so do your research. In general, business casual usually means nice slacks or skirt and a collared shirt or sweater. Rarely will it be appropriate to wear jeans, sandals or tennis shoes.