Looking your best is important in the job search because first impressions are lasting ones. Fair or unfair, an employer forms an opinion of you before the handshake, greeting or initial conversation. What you wear when interviewing or meeting employers impacts your ability to find a job. It’s for this reason that Career Services requires professional dress for people planning to attend the CPCC Job Fair on March 7.
But what exactly does “professional dress” mean anyway? Check out the following guidelines for men and women to dress for success in your job search.
- Business suits
- Khakis or dress slacks
- Collared or button-down shirts
- Professional dresses and skirts
- Neutral or matching panty hose
- Closed-toe shoes (no sandals!)
- Minimal jewelry (avoid long dangly earrings, bangle bracelets and excessive necklaces)
- Groomed hairstyle
- Light makeup and perfume
- Neatly manicured, clean nails
Ladies, the club scene and job search scene are two different scenes! Low-cut shirts, short skirts and tight fitting clothes are not appropriate.
- Suit (solid color, preferably navy, black or dark grey)
- Long-sleeve shirt (white or color that coordinates with the suit)
- Belt and matching tie
- Dark socks and matching conservative shoes
- Little or no jewelry
- Neat professional hairstyle
- Limit aftershave and cologne
Guys, a properly fitted suit makes the best impression. Make sure your suit suits your size and shape.
Guys and gals, remember to bring a folder to hold all of your resumes. Additionally, bring a bag to carry that folder and company handouts and materials that employers will be giving you.
So what are some dress no-no’s to avoid at the job fair?
- Wrinkled clothes. The night before or morning of the interview, iron your clothes.
- Bad breath. While chewing gum isn’t suggested, bring breath mints.
- A loud cell phone ring. Avoid this potential distraction when talking to an employer by turning your cell phone ringer off or at the very least to vibrate.
- Exposed body parts. A job fair isn’t the place for spaghetti straps, mid-drift tops or muscle shirts.
- A showcase of tattoos. If your arms are covered with art, cover them.
- Food in your teeth. Check a mirror to make sure that your smile doesn’t reveal what you just ate for breakfast or lunch.
- Piercings in other places besides ear lobes. It’s best to removal facial and tongue rings.
- Orange, yellow, green and blue hair color or nail polish. Stick to traditional conservative colors.
Don’t break the bank to dress professionally
Dressing professionally can be achieved on a budget. Check out these resources where you might find great deals on business suits and other professional attire:
- Consignment shops
- Goodwill and Salvation Army stores
- Dress for Success Charlotte
- Target, Kohl’s, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s (don’t forget these big box favorites that offer options at a fraction of the cost).
Finally, don’t forget the most important accessory: Confidence!