Dressing for Success

Recruitment events and interviews can be an overwhelming experience. You are already familiarizing yourself with potential employers and their backgrounds, carefully selecting the stories that best demonstrate your skills and managing your on-going academic and extra-curricular commitments on top of it all. The last thing you need is to panic just before an event, about what you should be wearing!

Choosing the right attire shows a potential employer that you are in tune with their business and culture and that you have diligently prepared for the interaction. Over or underdressing can leave someone you’ve just met with an unfair impression of you.

Are you really someone that looks like they rushed to throw something together when you are actually quite organized? Are you someone who is too formal or casual, and might not adjust well to the company’s culture?

Here are some tips to help ensure you make the right impression.

Before the recruitment season begins, choose a few “go-to” outfits that you know you can confidently pull off:

  • Casual– Some organizations like to invite potential candidates to a relaxed event, or an activity that might require a lot of movement, like bowling. A formal outfit in this circumstance would be cumbersome. Jeans or khakis paired with a collared shirt are a great choice, but know that leggings or a t-shirt might be too informal.
  • Business Casual– For many events, the invitation will call for business casual. This category has perhaps the widest interpretation, so it is important to do your homework. Adventerous dressers will argue that this includes dressy jeans, designer sneakers and untucked shirts. If you are meeting with people from an industry where personal image and style is an important commodity, feel free to be a bit more daring. This is where your research on the company and representatives comes in handy. If the culture is more conservative, stick with dress pants or a skirt paired with a pressed shirt or blouse, and avoid jeans and sneakers.
  • Business Formal– This category requires the most preparation, as you will likely want to invest in clothing that has been tailored to fit you just right. Make sure to stick with either black, dark grey, or dark blue pants and jackets, as bright colors can be daring. A white shirt is an easy choice, but you can go with a colored or patterned design if it is not too bold. Men should wear a tie, properly worn with the tip just hitting the top of your belt. This is not the time to try a knot that is overly complex. For females, ensure that jewelry and accessories are not too elaborate, as it can be distracting. Second hand and consignment stores can be a great way to find economical pieces. Just make sure to have it adjusted to fit you perfectly.

Dressing for an event should be fun and give you a confident presence. When in doubt, always go one notch above what you expect to be appropriate. It is always better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed.  Preparation is key, so get started today!