We have discussed the basics of what to wear (ladies & gents), and we have thought about the best shoes for job fairs. Now, it is time to figure out what accessories and materials you will need while you are there.
I will break it down into three sections: ladies, gents, and the stuff applicable to both.
When it comes to accessorizing an outfit for a job fair, keep it simple. The rule of 7 most definitely applies:
No more than 7 pieces of jewelry, each earring counts as 1.
Jewelry should be understated. When speaking with employers, you want them focused on you and your elevator pitch, not distracted by the sparkle of your dangling earrings in the light. For this reason, make sure you remove any facial piercing as well.
It may seem like you cannot show any creativity to be professional. That is not true. There are ways of making your outfit “you” without losing its professionalism. Adding a belt or scarf to your outfit can be a subtle way to add color or pattern without being a distraction in conversations. College-style.com posted this outfit as an example for accessorizing professionally. In the case of a job fair, replace no. 5 with a pad folio (discussed further in the Common section below).
Guys may have more accessory options than they realize. Cuff links, neckties, belts, watches, earrings, rings and any facial piercings can all be considered accessories. As I told the ladies, keep it simple. Remove any earrings, gaudy rings, or facial piercings. Cuff links tend to be a little formal for jobs fairs. If you do wear them, try to keep them understated. Neckties, belts, and watches are all standard accessories for professionally dressed men. As long they look appropriate with your suit, you shouldn’t have to think too much about these accessories.
Here is a chart from Oregon State University’s Career Services summarizing this info:
One last note, get your hair cut 1-2 weeks before the fair. A fresh haircut is noticeable, so make sure it has some time to settle in before the fair. Also, come to the fair with a clean-shaven face.
Accessories both girls and guys should have include a pad folio with paper and a pen for taking notes.
TIP: When researching employers before the fair, jot down some notes on the back pages as well as potential questions for each employer you plan to speak with at the fair. In-between employers go into the student lounge and refresh your memory on company facts and the questions you want to ask. Also, make some notes about the employer you just spoke with (e.g., the representatives names, the hiring process, etc.). This will be very helpful when sending thank you letters after the fair.
Cell phones are necessary accessories for almost everyone. The important thing here is to keep them out of sight and silent (not just vibrate) when speaking with employers. Remember, even once you’re walking away from a booth, the employer can still be watching you. So, don’t whip out your phone until you are back in the student lounge.
For other clothing ideas for career fairs (plus interviews & on the job) check out our Pinterest boards: