Ottawa County Michigan Works!

Employment Expertise – How Do I know What To Wear To Different Kinds Of Job Fairs?

Question: How do I know what to wear to different kinds of job fairs?

Answer: Dress for success for all job fairs, interviews, Employer Of The Day Events (at Michigan Works in Holland), and any other function that may involve the possibility of meeting a Human Resource representative or Hiring Manager.

This even includes moments of simply dropping off your application or resume or filling out a job application at company’s location.

The idea of ‘what to wear’ is filled with contradictions. On the one hand we’re told, “The clothes don’t make the man.” In other words what we’re wearing doesn’t reflect who we are inside. On the other hand there’s the old saying, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” In the world of job seeking we err on the side of ‘make a good impression’ which is what we tell our clients.

We recommend as a must for all job fairs and meetings:

  • Business casual: at a minimum wear dress pants, khakis or skirt, a dress shirt (with our without a tie), and dress shoes.

  • No tennis shoes, sandals or shorts, half shirts, short skirts, bathing suit tops, baggy pants, jeans or dirty clothes. This can be counter-intuitive if the job seeker has been in a manufacturing setting where clothing standards are not the same as they are in an office setting. But times are different and setting yourself apart from other candidates is very important.

  • Do not bring your children. This also can be difficult, but is a must. Employers do like the distraction or the disruption of children in the room. It’s also not fair to you, the job seeker, to be distracted this way. It demonstrates to the business that you may have daycare issues and might begin missing work.

The lack of concern for your personal appearance may be perceived as a lack of concern for all things – including the quality of what is being produced at the company! Lastly - and yes, we run into this, too – be sure to shower.

Article on the Holland Sentinel