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Dressing for Job Fairs

Dressing for Job Fairs

Marky Stein / Monster

What Recruiters Say

Several years ago, in an effort to help my own career-coaching clients make the most of career fairs, I did an informal survey of more than 40 job fair recruiters. These recruiters described their gut reactions to both people who dressed extremely casually and those who obviously had taken the time to sport clean, pressed, conservative formalwear. Frankly, the results were startling.

Almost universally, recruiters at these events said that, simply on the basis of seeing the job seeker – and before the seeker ever reached their booth, talked to them or handed out their resume – that the prospect dressed in extremely casual clothing struck them as being unprepared, irresponsible, less capable, educated and qualified and possessing poor work habits.

On the other hand, they described more formally dressed individuals as capable, well-educated, intelligent, trustworthy, responsible and people they wanted to hire.

Now we all know that wearing faded jeans, a sweater and tennis shoes certainly does not make you less intelligent or capable than someone dressed in more traditionally formal business clothes. It’s absurd to base a hiring decision on the basis of appearance. Isn’t it?

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