On October 14, the career services department at Minnesota School of Business in Blaine hosted a career fair. There were 17 businesses represented, including BioLife Plasma Services, Aerotek, and Truck Writers. Current students, graduates, and community members were invited to attend and learn about open job opportunities at the annual event. During the event, I noticed that attendees of the career fair were dressed in different types of clothing, which got me thinking about the importance of dressing professionally for interviews and professional networking.
“Dressing professionally gives candidates confidence – sometimes the confidence to secure the job they are interviewing for. The way you dress shows that you are taking the experience seriously and a lot of times those non-verbal cues come through a lot stronger than your words,” said Tonia Smith of BioLife Plasma Services.
When asked to comment on the importance of dressing professionally, John Penton and Leah Busack from Truck Writers had this to say, “First impressions are very important. People want to see candidates who are on top of it and dressing professionally shows that you respect the interview process. Also, it’s okay to ask the person calling you to schedule the interview what you should wear.”
Representing Aerotek, Anna Cliffe and Andy Pearce said, “You can never overdress for an interview. Usually, you only get one shot, so, have a positive attitude and dress professionally. This is also true for attending career fairs and other professional networking opportunities when you are potentially meeting with hiring managers outside of the interview setting.”
“Whether job-seekers are aware or not, appearance sets the stage for a successful employer-job-seeker communication. Employers are evaluating job-seekers on appearance as part of their first impression. Job seekers only have one chance when it comes to a first impression. Making sure you are prepared with appropriate professional dress is something that takes research and planning. Because professional clothing can be expensive, I recommend trying to slowly build a professional wardrobe by selecting basic pieces that you can mix and match while you are still in school. Shop sales and consider buying lightly used items to build your professional wardrobe,” said Melissa Young, director of career services at MSB-Blaine.
Some stores that carry affordable professional clothing are: Kohl’s, Sears, Maurices, and Unique Thrift Store. If you would like additional resources, contact the Career Services Department.