Skip to Main Content
by Vault Education Editors | October 07, 2010


It's recruiting season! Campus has been flooded with prospective employers recruiting students for internships and full-time jobs. By now, you've probably heard a ton about what you should do to secure an interview with your employer of choice. But what about what you shouldn't do? Here are three To-Don'ts that you probably won't hear from your career center, 'cause I'm not pulling any punches.

1. Don't get drunk at all that week

Well dressed job seeker has her resume ready for a recruiterIt should be a no-brainer not to get sauced at a recruiter-sponsored cocktail party or information session (they will see you and they will judge you). But what may not be obvious is that you also shouldn't party hard the night before any interaction with the prospective employer. If you're hungover, it will show. Whether or not you're sweating Jose Cuervo, you may have an upset stomach, a headache, bloodshot eyes--all things that will impair your performance. Moreover, if the company representative identifies any of these tell-tale signs, he may judge you just as much as if you were still drunk. So lay off the booze for a week or two--however long the recruiter is on campus. You can party hard after you've got the job offer.

2. Don't dress down

Go out and blue a black or navy blue suit right now. For guys, two or three ties and black socks wouldn't hurt. And even though pairing your tuxedo with a pair of black Chuck Taylors may have been "wicked sweet" at prom, if you don't have black dress shoes, pick up a pair of those as well. While recruiters won't expect you to have a bespoke suit and Hermes tie, they will expect you to look presentable. Dressing in business attire shows professionalism, that you take recruiting process and potential employer seriously. Whether it's an interview, information session or other networking event, never ever wear jeans. If you know that the company and/or specific event is more casual, go with: khakis and at least a button front shirt for men (and perhaps a blazer, sweater, tie, or all three); a dress or skirt for women (flats are OK in this situation, but make sure they're clean, shined if appropriate, and not the Tory Burch flats you wear to class every day). Also for the ladies, if you wear a skirt or dress, be sure to don stockings and close-toed shoes. I know that sounds like your grandmother's advice, but you'll thank me later.

3. Don't forget to brush your teeth

Or apply deodorant. Or, heaven forbid, shower. Go to the bathroom before any event, just like your mom told you before a car trip. If you do have to use the facilities in the middle of an event, remember to wash your hands afterwards--no matter what. You never know who could be in there with you. Brush your hair. Blow your nose ahead of time so you don't get violent sniffles half-way in. Make sure your nails are clean (no dirt or chipped nail polish). And if you need to have your roommate check your breath, just do it. Should you smoke, do not do so before interacting with a potential employer, and certainly not after you shower and/or put on your interview attire. Seriously.

Oh, and don't forget to bring at least three copies of your resume. But you probably knew that already.


Filed Under: Education|Grad School