What to wear to EmployUP (and other tips about professional appearance)

When you attend next Thursday’s EmployUP, making a positive impression with company recruiters is key to being invited for a job interview. Your visual appearance and how you interact with employers should complement the standout resume you present them.

Your visual impact has two elements: Appearance and your mannerisms. Use the following checklist to help make sure both get the employers’ attention for the right reasons.

Professional Wardrobe

Professional dress is required for admission to EmployUP. This guideline is for your benefit: Recruiters look favorably on candidates dressed in professional attire.


  • Business suits
  • Khakis or dress slacks
  • Collared or button-down shirts
  • Professional dresses and skirts
  • Navy, black or dark grey colors work best
  • 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

Low-cut shirts, short skirts and tight fitting clothes make an impression, but not the right one.


  • 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

Make sure your suit is properly fitted.

Other appearance errors to avoid

  • Wrinkled clothes. The night before or morning of the interview, iron your clothes.
  • Bad breath. Bring breath mints instead of gum.
  • A loud cell phone ring.  Turn off your cell phone or set it to vibrate.
  • Exposed body parts. Avoid mid-drift tops or muscle shirts.
  • Tattoos. If your arms are covered with art, cover them.
  • Food in your teeth. Check a mirror to make sure your smile won’t be distracting.
  • Piercings in other places besides ear lobes. Remove facial and tongue rings.
  • Unique hair color or nail polish. Stick to traditional conservative colors.
  • A backpack. Carry your resumes in a binder or folder.

The Career Services Professional Dress Pinterest boards provide great examples of professional dress, as does the EmployUP tips video. Check both of them out!


From the moment you shake the employer’s hand you’re being evaluated. Use these tips about nonverbal behavior and you’ll be fine.

  • Offer a firm handshake (but don’t crush the recruiter’s fingers).
  • Maintain eye contact when speaking and listening.
  • Smile and show an engaged facial expression. Otherwise the recruiter might think you’re bored.
  • Avoid excessive hand gestures and twirling your hair.
  • Don’t carry a pen or other item if you’re inclined to play with it while talking to the recruiter (clicking pen, twirling it between fingers, etc.).
  • Don’t take calls from your cell phone (or even look at it) during your conversation.