What To Wear To a Job Fair
Updated February 3, 2023
Attending a job fair provides opportunities to interact with representatives from several organizations. For students and entry-level individuals, this type of event can be beneficial in the job search. It is important to make sure you dress appropriately when attending a job or career fair to look professional and impress hiring managers.
In this article, we explain what a job fair is and how to dress for one.
Read more: How To Get the Most Out of Job Fairs
What is a job fair?
A job fair, also called a "career or recruitment fair," is an event where several companies exchange information with potential candidates regarding open positions. Those in attendance can interact with human resources professionals at various organizations to learn more about available positions and potential career paths. Attending a job fair is useful for those who are looking for employment, as they can meet with many hiring professionals and explore several opportunities at the same time.
When attending a job fair, you can ask any questions you might have about working for a specific company or in a certain role. At some job fairs, representatives from the companies on display will speak about the positions they have open and other topics that relate to those who are looking for jobs. Many college students attend job fairs held on their school campuses. Entry-level positions are also available at job fairs so that they can benefit those of all skill and education levels.
Some job fairs are specific to a particular industry or field. For example, there could be a job fair for technology or healthcare positions. Attending a specific career fair can help narrow a candidate’s focus.
Tips for what to wear when attending a job fair
Dress appropriately when attending a job fair, as the way you present yourself will serve as the first impression to those with whom you interact at the event. The outfit you choose for a job fair is just as important as the outfit you choose for a job interview. The hiring market is competitive, so looking for ways to stand out and present yourself more professionally can make a difference to those who are responsible for hiring new employees.
Review the information about the job fair you plan to attend to determine whether the event organizers have issued a recommended dress code. In most cases, the dress code is business casual. If you do not see a dress code on the information you received, the best way to maintain a professional and polished appearance is to dress in business attire, such as:
Pants and skirts
Tops and jackets
Clean hair and minimal makeup
Pants and skirts
Business attire includes a skirt or suit pants. All components of your outfit should be clean and pressed, free of any tears or holes and in a neutral color, such as black, gray or navy.
If you are dressing business casual for the event, you can wear khakis or chinos instead of suit pants or a skirt.
Tops and jackets
Pair a skirt or suit pants with a jacket and a blouse that complements the look of the suit and sits no lower than the collarbone. A button-down dress shirt in a neutral color and a tie will complete the look, topped with the suit jacket.
For business casual dress, a button-down shirt and a tie are acceptable, although a jacket is not necessary. A blouse with a pair of dress pants or a professional skirt is also considered business casual.
Business and business casual footwear include flats or pumps with low- to medium-height heels, loafers, wingtips, brogues or other dress shoes in a color that matches your suit, paired with dark socks that cover your legs when you sit down.
When accessorizing, it is best to choose minimal jewelry that isn't too distracting, such as a single pair of earrings, one necklace and only one or two rings.
Clean hair and minimal makeup
Hair should be clean and styled in a way that takes it off the face for a more professional appearance. If you choose to wear makeup, consider using a neutral color palette and a simple look. It is also best to avoid heavy perfumes and fragrances. Facial hair should be clean, trimmed and groomed to give a professional, well-kept appearance.
Related: How To Get a Job After College
Tips for standing out at a job fair
When you are meeting with potential employers, it is always helpful to be prepared for the event. Follow these tips to be more prepared for who you might encounter and the opportunities that might present at the job fair:
Do some research
Start by researching the event website or materials to find out which companies will be in attendance. Identify those companies you are most interested in working for and learn more about them so you will have something to talk about with the hiring manager or another representative.
Consider looking at their websites or searching for photos of individuals who currently work at those companies to get an idea of the type of attire that is appropriate in their workplace. Knowing a little about the company can also help you identify questions you might want to ask to get more detailed information.
Bring a bag or briefcase
You will likely receive flyers, giveaways and other items at the job fair as you meet with various company representatives, so it will be helpful to have somewhere to place these items to keep your hands free for handshakes. Bring a small bag, briefcase or folder to maintain your professional appearance.
Make copies of your resume
It is best to bring at least 20 copies of your resume to a job fair. Although you may not plan to interact with 20 different people, you could end up finding out more about a company with an open position that is particularly appealing to you. Make sure to give your resume to those you speak with and point out specific areas that show you are a good fit for a potential role with the company.
After the job fair ends, take the time to write and send a thank-you note to those you spoke with at the event. You can email them, send a message through social networking websites or send a handwritten card in the mail, depending on your level of interest and how in-depth the conversation was at the job fair.
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