Job fairs need proper attire to be well-suited

Dressing to impress may not be a top priority with some college students.

Considering the average day-at-class-in-sweats-and-flip-flops look, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to many people. But we have an important season upon us: job fair season.

The career center is holding their big fair this week, and the Society for Professional Journalists hold theirs next month. Two fairs, hundreds of employers, right here on campus. The question is: will you be ready?

No, I don’t mean is your resume updated and your cover letter oozing self-importance. I’m talking about your suit. Is it ready? More importantly, do you have a suit?

I hear some people saying, “No, I don’t need a suit, I bought a nice pair of black pants.” Too bad. You need a suit. Khakis and “nice black pants” may have been OK for landing that cashier position at JC Penny’s, but it won’t work in the college arena.

As a modern college student, I have been around the employment block and I have seen the good, the bad, and way too much of the ugly. So many of these faux pas come from students my age that I feel it’s appropriate to delve back into the dos and don’ts of interview attire.

More importantly, I feel this would be unnecessary if the fashion industry hadn’t recently adopted the “tailored, professional” look as a trend.

They have created a monster. When I go shopping for a suit now, where once there were sensible, stylish black and navy blue, I see a sea of pastels. My number one interview faux pas: the pink suit.

This goes the same for the pink dress pants and the pink blazer.

It goes double when there are black or cream pinstripes, a white belt or large flower-shaped pins or buckles.

Seriously, I thought they only sold these things in the junior’s section. By the way, this goes triple for guys in pink shirts.

It’s not OK. Period.

Going with “trendy” colored suits and flower and frills is only OK if you are in the fashion industry or are looking for a job marketing confectionary treats.

Same goes with shoes in a color other than your suit color.

I’m glad your blouse is red. Your shoes shouldn’t match. Nor should they be wedges, clogs, stilettos, boots, sneakers or more than three inches high.

Next in the line-up is makeup. This should be a no-brainer. If your face is a different color than your neck, or if you’re afraid of chipping or smearing, you have too much makeup on.

Jewelry is the same basic “less is more” principle. Big silver hoop earrings are not going to impress your future employer.

Chances are better it will leave them wondering how much your ears must hurt.

For nails, has this to say: “Groomed nails: Clean, neatly groomed nails and cuticles; Sheer, pink or beige polish; No nail ornaments; Reasonable in length.”

Sorry, no black nail polish.

Finally, the golden rule for women: if your suit is white, so must be your underwear. So try to remember when you go to the job fair that it’s your responsibility to set yourself away from the pack.

You need employers to see you as a professional, serious and smart choice.

At all costs you must avoid looking like a commercial for “Barbie goes to the job fair.”

Send comments to Amanda Hoover at [email protected]