Why Your Appearance Matters and What to Wear

Think of your favorite meal. Lock that image firmly in your mind. Now imagine that meal being presented to you on the lid of a garbage can. All of a sudden, that favorite is not as appealing. No matter how alluring it is, if it’s not presented in a manner that’s consistent with what you’re anticipating, then it loses it’s appeal, right? Right!

The same holds true for employer’s expectations of job seekers. The image employers have job seekers is they will present themselves in a professional manner and the first indication employers have of the job seeker’s level of professionalism is revealed in the job seeker’s attire.

In the course of attending hundreds of job fairs, I’ve experienced dozens of occasions when I was overpowered by cologne, embarrassed by the sight of too much cleavage or legs, and dazzled by jeans or the sight of shirts left untucked. I’ve seen four-inch heels, shirts open from the neck to the navel and flip flops. I can tell you that I never even came close to hiring any of these fashion misfits. Any one of them may have been just the candidate I was looking for in terms of their experience and qualifications, but it was too late. The damage was already done.

Trust me, on this issue I’m not the exception. Why would I risk my credibility bringing in a candidate who shows looking more like they are getting ready for a night on the town then a job interview? Nah!

Here are some tips on what to wear to job fairs and interviews. The items don’t need to be overly expensive. Just professional. Besides, aren’t you worth the investment?
Here goes:

WOMEN

Suit
Cut: Two piece, long sleeve, professional skirted or pant suit
Color: Navy, dark gray, or black Fabric: 100% Wool or blend of at least 50% wool

Skirt
Skirt length: at knee or 1″ below the knee

Cosmetics
Perfume:No perfume Makeup: Light application Hair: Neatly groomed
Nails: Clear or neutral color

Blouse
Color: White or pastels Fabric: Silk or polyester blends
Style: Button-down, long sleeve that is not low cut or sheer
Jewelry/Accessories
Necklace: Pearls, single strand; gold or silver Earrings: Small and close to ear
Portfolio: Dark leather portfolio for resumes and notebook Handbag: Small, conservative style

Shoes/Hose
Shoes: Well polished, closed toe, closed heel, dress shoe with 1-11/2 inch heel

Hose: Natural tone or sheer black hose

MEN

Suit
Cut: Two piece, traditional cut Fabric: 100% Wool or blend of at least 50% wool
Color: Navy, dark gray, or black

Shoes/Socks
Shoes: Black, well polished all leather lace shoes Socks: Black or navy blue

Shirt
Color: White Fabric: 100% cotton Style: Button-down, long sleeve

Grooming
Cologne: No cologne or aftershave Hair: Neatly groomed (professional cut)

Jewelry/Accessories
Jewelry: Analog watch and leather band Belt: Black leather

Tie
Color: Conservative, burgundy, deep greens, paisley, stripes, geometric patterns

Why would you show up at a job fair looking as if you were ready for a night on the town? That makes as much sense as washing your feet with your socks on. Don’t let your first impression be your worse impression. Invest in your attire. It’s an investment in your future.

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