Dressing for Success

By: Brian Carhide

professional dressIt is the beginning of the fall 2014 semester and the campuses are buzzing with excitement and Eagle Pride! Many of the seasoned students know that the fall semester is the time to dust off the suit and shine the shoes. On Thursday October 2, 2014 and Wednesday October 8, 2014, respectively, the Prescott and Daytona Beach campuses will be hosting their annual Industry/Career Expo. The events are professional dress events and to those who have experienced the Industry/Career Expo know that looking your best is essential to success.

If you are attending the Expo and whether you are seeking a job or just networking, we encourage professional dress to make that crucial first impression count. Dressing professionally not only shows an employer you mean business, but it exudes confidence. It lets the employer know that you are serious about being a part of their team. The aviation/aerospace industry expectations are that of basic colors, clean look, and conservative styles. Below are some general guidelines for both male and female expo dress:

Female

The Suit

  • Fabric: the best choice is 100% wool
  • A suit with a knee-length skirt and a tailored blouse is most appropriate
  • The most suitable colors include charcoal, medium gray, steel gray, black, and navy blue
  • Jackets should be simple, well-tailored and stylish, and fall just at the hips
  • Jackets should have smooth seams, even hemlines, correctly hanging linings, and well-sewn buttons

The Skirt

  • A skirt should fall just at or no more than 2” above the knee; stick with solid colors
  • A one-piece business dress with a matching jacket is popular

The Blouse

  • It is best to wear long sleeves; it projects an authoritative, professional look
  • Never wear a sleeveless blouse
  • Solid colors and natural fabrics are the best selections (particularly cotton and silk)
  • Acceptable colors include white and cream. Pale pink, soft yellow or light blue (only if it works with the overall look)
  • A classic softened collar works best with suits. The button-down collar should be worn when interviewing with a conservative company

The Shoes

  • They should preferably be leather
  • Colors; brown, black, navy, or burgundy
  • The color should always be the same as or a darker tone than your skirt
  • Flats are fine; a shoe with a heel of up to about 2 ½ “ is perfectly acceptable
  • The pump is the safest and most conservative look; a closed heel with a slightly open toe and the sling-back shoe with a closed toe are also acceptable

Male

The Suit

  • The most acceptable colors are navy through medium blue and black through charcoal
  • Fabric should be 100% wool. Why? Wool looks and wears better than any other material
  • Pinstripes are acceptable, so long as the stripes are very narrow and muted
  • A well-fitted two-piece suit is preferable; more refined, less showy
  • There should be no pull at the jacket shoulders, no gape at the back, and the cuffs should break at your wrists

The Shirt

  • Rule One: Always wear a long-sleeved shirt
  • Rule Two: Always wear a white, cream, or pale blue shirt
  • Rule Three: Never violate Rules One or Two
  • Remember, the paler and more subtle the shade, the better the impression you will make
  • Make sure your shirt fits properly; the collar should fit the neck properly

The Neckwear (Ties)

  • A pure silk tie makes the most powerful professional impact, has the best finish and feel, and is the easiest to tie
  • When tied, the tie should cover the belt buckle
  • Most appropriate knots are: Four-in-Hand, Windsor, and Half Windsor

The Shoes

  • They should either be black or brown
  • Lace-up wing tips are the most conservative choice and are most universally accepted

For additional resources on dress visit: http://careers.erau.edu/land-offer/interviewing/prepare/index.html

The career services office wants you to be successful, and if you do not have a suit or are not seeking a job or internship, we still encourage you to dress professionally. Please refrain from wearing items such as shorts, t-shirts, blue (or any other color) jeans, sandals, etc. (military and religious attire is acceptable). If you are not dressed in a suitable manner, you will be asked to change and return to the event. It is in your best interest to be dressed appropriately and save the shorts and flip flops for after the event.

Have a great semester and we look forward to seeing you in October at the Industry/Career Expo!

Brian Carhide has more than 20 years of professional aviation experience. He spent many years as a professional pilot, including experience as a charter and airline pilot. He has been a leader in guiding young aviators in higher education at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is the Executive Director of Career Services.

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