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Career Corner
Dressing the Part at Job Fairs

Curtis Burk -- Job fairs can be your first opportunity to interact one-on-one with employers. But in order to be perceived as a potential job prospect, you need to look and act the part.

Here's what to wear: Your guide to job fair preparation

Job fairs are a wonderful place to make contact with a multitude of industry professionals. You can meet members of prominent government offices at a DC fair, for example. But in order to be perceived as a potential job prospect, you need to look and act the part. The following is a guide to dressing the part at fairs.

The blazer

While they impart a sense of authority and responsibility in a way that no other article of clothing can batch, wearing a blazer can, unfortunately, be subject to the temperature. If you are attending a Boston fair in January, a blazer is definitely a viable option. And even if you are attending an LA job fair in August, there's always the chance that the venue is well air-conditioned. But nobody likes a sweaty job applicant, so if you feel remotely uncomfortable wearing a blazer, you shouldn't feel bad about taking it off to maintain a polished appearance. Just make sure the rest of your ensemble "works" without the blazer.

The top

Women have a lot more leeway when it comes to clothing in general, so it comes as no surprise that women can wear a number of different tops... underneath a blazer. If, as mentioned above, a blazer is impractical, women will need to try a little harder. Even LA fair attendees shouldn't wear a camisole to a fair. A button-down top is always an option, as is a modest blouse in a neutral color. Men, of course, have it easy -- just wear an ironed button-down top and a conservative tie. Make sure all clothing fits properly, even if this means visiting a tailor before a job. Baggy clothes look sloppy and tight clothes are inappropriate for most professional environments.

The bottom

Men can wear slacks in black or another dark, neutral color. Women may wear trousers or skirts in a neutral color. Make sure skirts are not too short -- they should hit around the knee. If you are attending a Boston fair during the colder months, make sure you wear stockings so you legs don't freeze between your car and the career fair.

The shoes

Wear shoes that are polished and completely unscuffed. Women should limit heel heights to one or two inches.

The extras

Bring several copies of your résumé, carried either in a briefcase or a folder. Bring a legal pad to take notes. And smile -- likeability can go a long way toward getting your foot in the door.

Attend United Career Fairs and meet with hiring companies and their decision makers in a Boston job fair. We are also provide DC job fairs and LA job fairs for job seekers. Set yourself apart from other candidates and enjoy the career of your dreams.

© 2013 Curtis Burk

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