Look your best: How to dress professionally

By Hanadi Abunaim

Whether students are searching for internships or jobs for after graduation, the spring career fairs are the place to make a good first impression—and looking the part can be the first step.

According to Jennifer Neef, associate director of the Career Center, dressing well is a crucial component of making a good impression at an interview.

“It’s important that students understand the expectations for the interview,” said Neef. “Almost all interviews are going to be business professional, which will require a full-fledged suit.”

However, business professional attire is specific to each gender, Neef said.

“For females, it would typically be a pant suit or skirt suit. Ladies would include matching shoes, matching hosiery, conservative jewelry and makeup,” she said. “While for men, it would be a typical men’s suit with conservative colors like black, grey and navy. A little pop of color in the tie is great as well.

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For Ned Rooney, a senior in LAS, that “pop of color” is his lucky orange tie.

Business casual, on the other hand, warrants a different dress code. According to Neef, there are key differences between dressing “business casual” and “business professional.”

Neef said a good rule of thumb is to match three pieces of clothing for both males and females.

It is important to look into what the interviewers may expect out of your overall presentation for the interview, she said. She also suggests asking ahead of time to gauge what is and isn’t appropriate to wear.

Grace Kane, sophomore in Business, says “always play it safe and wear a suit.” She said she doesn’t bring her backpack to interviews, but rather brings a large purse and her portfolio to hold her paperwork.

“I always bring extra copies of my resume,” she added.

Neef has observed that you should consider what you wear in relation to the perceptions of the people who are interviewing you.

“It’s important to understand that sometimes interviews are being conducted with people who are older than you are, maybe a generation or two. What they perceive as professional and acceptable may be different than what a student perceives as being acceptable,” she said. The weather plays another important determinant when deciding what to wear. In the winter, Neef suggests wearing boots when traveling to the interview and then changing into dress shoes before going into the interview to avoid scuff marks. Bringing an umbrella to fend off rain or heavy snow may also be an ideal solution.

Hanadi can be reached at [email protected].