Senior steps

Nancy dudak

ased on the number of questions we hear in Career Services, we know that seniors are concerned with making a good impression on employers. You want to look as if you understand what’s required of you and that you can manage this all on a student budget!

Business casual is probably the least understood description of appropriate attire and it is subject to a broad spectrum of interpretation.

It was meant to provide an opportunity to work in a more relaxed-yet still professional-type of clothing. With so many choices, it’s easier than ever to commit a fashion faux pas that’s not only embarrassing but possibly detrimental to your career.

While many businesses accept a more relaxed style, a significant number have tightened their reins. Too many associates come to work as though going to a ballgame or the beach. Employers have become frustrated by having to correct behavior and don’t want to take on the role of fashion police.

What business causal is:

*Pants or slacks (for men

and women)

*Tailored long or knee-

length skirts

*Tailored sweaters

*Open collared shirts

(plain colors or conserva-

tive patterns)

*Sportcoats or jackets

*Polo shirts if you are outdoors or in a warm environment

*Polished Leather shoes

What it’s not:

*Blue jeans

*Thigh high skirts or short shorts.

*Sheer or low cut blouses

*Tight sweaters

*Tank tops


*Athletic clothing

*Baseball hats



*Strappy sandals

There are a number of guidelines to remember for business casual attire in interviewing activities:

• Consider the type of organization, its work and clients. Accounting and financial firms might have a more formal definition of business casual than an engineering firm.

Men might always wear jackets in an accounting firm, but rarely in a technical environment. Dress like you would if you worked there.

• It’s better to be more formal or conservative than less. If you are “overdressed,” the employer will know that you are taking the employment process seriously and will not make a negative judgement. You will always be judged negatively if you are too casual.

• You still need a suit for the actual interview. Business casual is only appropriate for the pre-recruiting activities like receptions, information sessions and career fairs.

• Summer or warm weather can be particularly tricky. Shoulders and feet should always be covered.

• Don’t worry about wearing the same things all of the time. Buy a few coordinating tops and bottoms that can be interchanged.

• Ask for advice the first time you are invited to a business casual event. Ask the staff in Career Services, or someone working in the profession.

Good luck!