What to Wear to a Career Fair

By Marla Currie

You're standing among hundreds of qualified candidates at a career fair trying to meet with a hiring professional and create an impression that will be memorable and land you that job. Be sure you dress the part to ensure that at least visually your first encounter as a company candidate will help you clear your first hurdle toward landing that job.

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Suit Up

Plan your outfit days before the career fair. Wear a business suit for whatever type of job you might be applying for. Select a suit in a conservative color like navy, dark grey or brown to have the broadest appeal. Refrain from suits with an obvious pattern such as large pinstripes or checks. Wear a suit with an up-to-date look but not one that might be considered trendy. If necessary, coordinate a jacket with pants or a skirt to create the look of a suit.

Try on your outfit to determine that it fits well. Examine the suit to ensure no buttons are missing, no seams are separated, no hems have come undone. If any are found, repair them using matching buttons and thread. If possible, have your chosen suit professionally dry-cleaned.

Create an Ensemble

Decide what shirt you'll wear with your suit. Opt for a white shirt if a man. Select a tie that matches the suit color. Choose one that has a design for visual interest but isn't garish or flashy in color. Get a second opinion on your tie and shirt.

Select among the numerous options available for women under a suit—whether a blouse, a sweater or other top such as a tasteful camisole. Create visual interest by adding an accent color like red or pink in a scarf or blouse.

The Little Extras

Wear plain dress shoes in a color that matches your interview ensemble. Clean and polish your shoes or get a professional shoe shine as many people judge others by the look of their shoes. Don't wear shoes that are too stylish or those with too high a heel; you'll send the wrong message. Minimize wearing jewelry in both amount and size. Remove any nose or brow rings. Cover up any tattoos.