What to Wear VS. What Not to Wear | Career Fair Edition

First impressions matter, especially at a career fair where you’re aiming to make a lasting impact on potential employers. Your choice of attire can significantly influence how you’re perceived and how confidently you present yourself. In this blog, we’ll dive into the essential tips and guidelines for selecting the perfect outfit to ensure you look polished and professional while attending a career fair.


First, let’s start with why it is important to dress professionally. Your attire for a career fair is paramount, as it serves as your initial introduction to potential employers. First impressions are lasting, and your attire plays a crucial role in forming them. When you dress professionally, you convey a sense of seriousness, preparedness, and respect for the event and the professionals you hope to connect with. It signals your understanding of the industry’s standards and your commitment to presenting yourself in the best possible light. Therefore, dressing professionally isn’t just about clothes; it’s a strategic tool to establish a strong foundation for meaningful conversations and potential job opportunities.


Although there is no specific dress code for a career fair, business casual is always recommended. Business casual attire typically refers to a dress code that strikes a balance between formal and casual clothing, suitable for professional settings where a full business suit might be overly formal. It often includes outfits that are modest in style while still showing off some personality. While it allows for more comfort and individuality compared to business-professional attire, it still maintains a polished and neat appearance.


When attending a career fair, it’s essential to choose clothing items that project professionalism and confidence. Opt for a well-fitted blazer or suit jacket in a neutral color, such as black, navy, or charcoal gray. Pair it with a collared dress shirt or blouse, ideally in a classic shade like white or light blue. Complete the look with tailored slacks or a knee-length skirt for a polished appearance. Don’t forget to wear closed-toe dress shoes and choose accessories that are understated, like a simple tie or dainty jewelry, to ensure your outfit conveys seriousness and readiness for networking and potential job interviews.


Avoid wearing clothing items that are overly casual or attention-grabbing at a career fair. Steer clear of jeans, shorts, tank tops, and T-shirts with slogans or graphics, as these can appear too casual and unprofessional. Additionally, avoid clothing that is too revealing or flashy, such as low-cut tops or clothing with excessive sequins or bright patterns, as it can distract from your qualifications and undermine your professionalism. Lastly, stay away from overly worn or wrinkled attire, as it may convey a lack of attention to detail and preparation.

Overall, by understanding the importance of dressing appropriately, adhering to a business casual dress code, and carefully selecting the right outfit, you not only convey seriousness, preparedness, and respect but also maximize your chances of making a memorable impact. Remember, clothing is a powerful tool in your career fair toolkit, and with the right choices, you can present yourself as the confident and capable professional you aspire to be.

Looking for a place to apply these tips? The College of Charleston is hosting its annual spring Career Exploration Fair on February 29th from 12-4 p.m. in the Gaillard Center. At this event, there will be over 100 employers looking forward to talking about positions within their company and networking with students in the hopes of building a long-lasting connection and serving as a great place to show off your outfit.

Kennedy Robinson | Marketing & Communication Intern

Jason Mack’s Charleston Food Recs

Jason, College of Charleston senior and seasoned food explorer here. After years of culinary scavenging, I’ve rounded up my Top 20 Value Food Recs in Charleston. From hidden gems to local favorites, these picks ensure a delicious experience without breaking the bank. Join me on a budget-friendly gastronomic journey through the heart of our city’s food scene! 🍔🌮🍜


1. Fast & French Sandwiches – $6-$8 for elite sandwiches

2. Indaco Happy Hour – Great $10 Margherita pizza and other bites

3. D’Allesandro’s Lunch Specials – $10 for a really good pizza + salad/drink (I think)

4. Burwells Happy Hour – Very high-end affordable bites

5. Matador Happy Hour – $8 grande nachos

6. Fish Bowl Happy Hour – ½ off sushi

7. CO Happy Hour – Good Asian options under $10

8. East Bay Deli Kids Chicken Tenders (I know it sounds crazy) – $7 for tenders, fries, soft drink

9. Big Gun Happy Hour – $2 tacos, burger + fries for $9

10. O-Ku Happy Hour – ½ off sushi

11. Grit Counter – Huge portions in Mount Pleasant

12. Poke Tea Stop – Poke Bowl for ≈ $11

13. Daves Carry Out – Southern food, never been, heard great things

14. Ruby’s Bagels – Best bagels in town in Mount Pleasant

15. Caviar & Bananas – Sandwiches of choice for ≈ $10 (Get the Aztec)

16. Market Street Deli – $8 custom sandwiches

17. Ha Long Cafe – Affordable fresh rolls and bahn mi

18. Brown Dog Deli – Great sandwiches of choice, other options

19. Masons Lobster – Cup of lobster bisque for ≈ $5

20. Chopsticks Lunch Specials – Asian lunch specials for ≈ $10

** Note from Jason: Not sure about the specific details with a handful of these; they might be online. Some could be out of date since it has been up to 1-2 years since I last had them. If so, I apologize, but still recommend these as the top 20 food spots in Charleston. **

Jason Mack ’24 | Financial Wellness Student Ambassador

Making the Most Out of Your Internship

Internships provide students with valuable work experience and skill development that can, in turn, be carried into classroom settings and job positions after graduation. To make the most of an internship position, walk in with an open mind, ready to absorb as much as possible.

  1. Ask Questions

When working in the office and completing tasks, don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is a great way to gain a more in-depth understanding of the task you are completing, and it also shows your supervisors that you are eager to learn. Additionally, asking questions can help you build relationships with your colleagues, demonstrating your interest in their work. Internships are not just about the tasks you complete but also about the knowledge you gain from the experience.

  1. Take Initiative

Look for opportunities to contribute and suggest improvements. If you notice a process that could be more efficient or a project that aligns with your skills and interests, don’t hesitate to propose your ideas. Taking initiative showcases your proactiveness but leads to more meaningful and challenging tasks during your internship.

  1. Build Relationships

Internships are great ways to network with other professionals in your industry. In the office, at company-hosted gatherings, or in meetings, you can form connections that will be valuable for years to come. Start by asking people about the path they took to get to where they are now or one piece of advice they have for you as you enter the workforce.

  1. Build a Portfolio

If your internship involves creative work, create a portfolio showcasing your best projects. This can be used in future job interviews to give companies a full idea of what you are capable of doing. Along with creative work, keep a record of your accomplishments and biggest tasks. Documentation will be helpful when creating a resume and for future job applications and interviews.

  1. Demonstrate Enthusiasm

Show your enthusiasm for your position as an intern as well as for the company you are working at. Employ a positive attitude, willingness to contribute, and eagerness to learn. This not only fosters a more pleasant work environment but also helps you establish strong relationships with colleagues and superiors. Your willingness to contribute and eagerness to learn are essential for personal growth and professional development, enabling you to make a substantial impact in your role and bring fresh ideas to the table.

Internships are opportunities for personal and professional growth, so continuously learn from your experiences—both successes and failures. By approaching your internship with an open mind, curiosity, and a willingness to learn, you can make the most of the experience and set a strong foundation for your future career.

Kennedy Robinson ‘24 | Marketing & Communication Intern

How can I be #financiallywell?

Fellow students and future financial enthusiasts – as the leaves turn and October sweeps in, we’re delving deep into a crucial topic: Financial Wellness. Today, we’re putting the spotlight on iGrad, your ultimate financial companion. This user-friendly platform is here to simplify the complexity of financial concepts, provide you with personalized guidance, offer robust budgeting tools, and present a plethora of educational resources.

Empowering Your Financial Journey with iGrad

As students who have used iGrad, we’ve been able to manage our loans, budget like pros, and, most importantly, feel more confident about our financial future. Remember, financial wellness isn’t just a part of your life; it’s key to your overall well-being. So, get ready as we explore iGrad and embark on the journey to financial empowerment together!

iGrad is a comprehensive financial toolkit designed to help you master the art of managing your finances. Imagine having all your financial information at your fingertips, effortlessly accessible and beautifully organized. With iGrad, you can track your expenses, set budgets, and monitor your progress toward your financial goals. It’s like having a financial GPS guiding you to prosperity. iGrad goes beyond the numbers, it offers a wealth of educational resources that can turn anyone into a financial mogul. From articles and videos to interactive tools and calculators, iGrad provides you with the knowledge you need to make informed financial decisions. If you’re like us, and learn best from real-life examples, iGrad has got you covered with inspiring success stories from individuals who’ve navigated the tumultuous waters of student loans, credit cards, and investments and emerged victorious.

Personalized Financial Guidance and Support

What if you need a more personalized touch? That’s where our one-on-one appointments at Financial Wellness in the Career Center come in. These appointments give you the opportunity to dive deeper into your individual finances with the guidance of a dedicated coach. They’ll help you harness the power of iGrad to take charge of your financial destiny. There’s even more to explore with the Financial Wellness Team. We’re not just here for financial planning; we can assist you with scholarship searches, job searches, and those critical financial decisions like, “Is it a good idea for me to go to graduate school right now?” We’ve got your back, every step of the way.

To schedule a one-on-one appointment log into Appointment Manager, click “Schedule Appointment”. Select “Career Center”, click “Continue”. Select “Financial Wellness” and you’ll be able to schedule an appointment with Liz Cooper, our Financial Wellness Director! If the listed time and dates do not work with you feel free to contact Liz (cooperlk3@cofc.edu) to set up a different time and date.

Unlocking Financial Well-Being: Welcome to Financial Wellness Month!

October isn’t just about pumpkin spice lattes and falling leaves. We’re bringing the financial wellness celebration to you with fun tabling events popping up at various locations throughout the month. Keep your eye out for our Cougsletter (via email) and Instagram (@careercofc) to know when and where to expect swag giveaways, surprises and a chance to explore different resources to kickstart your financial journey.” So, there you have it—your ticket to a financially secure future. iGrad, our team of financial experts, and a wealth of resources await you. Make October the month you take control of and transform your financial well-being. Remember, the key to a brighter future is in your hands.

Jason Mack ’24 & Raye Mercader ’23 (Dec.) | Financial Wellness Student Ambassadors

Why Should I Attend a Pop-Up Fair?

Have you always wondered what a career fair is like? Pop-up career fairs offer a plethora of benefits to job seekers and professionals alike, and on College of Charleston’s campus, there are a variety of Career Fairs and Pop-Up fairs each semester. One of the primary advantages is the opportunity to network with industry experts and potential employers. These events bring together a wide range of companies and professionals, starting connections that can open doors to exciting opportunities. Additionally, attending a pop-up career fair allows individuals to explore various industries and companies they may not have considered otherwise. It is a chance to broaden one’s horizons and gain insight into emerging career opportunities. These events offer invaluable insights, career advice, and skill-building opportunities that can enhance your professional journey.


Whether you have decided on a major or are still trying to determine what your future will hold, a Pop-Up Career Fair is for you. There are employers from all backgrounds and fields, serving as the perfect platform for you to get out there and explore all the possibilities there are to offer. As you navigate from one table to the next, you have the chance to connect with passionate professionals who can inform you about the intricacies of their given field. Whether it is technology, healthcare, finance, or any other sector, a pop-up fair provides a hands-on experience in understanding the roles, responsibilities, and cultures of different organizations.


At a Pop-Up Career Fair, there are various individuals in attendance, such as potential employers, students, industry professionals, and recruiters. Each attendee is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to get to know you and share information about their company. To make an impression and ensure that these valuable connections extend beyond the event, consider carrying business cards or printed copies of your resume. This simple yet strategic step can pave the way for ongoing professional relationships even after the Pop-Up Fair concludes.


Considering working an internship or job in the near future? Now is your time to get yourself out there and start searching. Employers attending career fairs are on the lookout for individuals who not only possess the qualifications and experience needed for specific roles, but also exhibit a passion for the industry. Each booth represents a potential step to your next professional adventure, but it’s not just about securing a job; it’s about finding the right fit that aligns with your aspirations and values. A career fair is a space where connections are made and the first steps toward a fulfilling career path are taken. Pop-Up Career Fairs are a place that can lead to both immediate opportunities and long-term success in the ever-evolving world of work.


Now that you know why you should attend, let’s talk about how to prepare for a Pop-Up Career Fair. On Handshake, students can register to attend and view all participating companies and employers that will be present. Before attending, research companies that interest you and prepare questions. Walking into a Pop-Up Career Fair ready helps you maximize the benefits you receive in return. Along with being prepared comes dressing in professional attire. Good first impressions are key when entering the career field, so your attire can go a long way before you ever have the chance to speak a word. Finally, stay open minded. You never know what opportunities, connections, and conversations will present themselves at a Pop-Up Career Fair, so do not close yourself to anything that may come your way.

Whether you’re a student still working on your academic path or a seasoned professional seeking new horizons, these fairs cater to all. They provide a unique chance to engage with passionate professionals, expand your network, and gain invaluable insights and advice. By attending, you’re taking a proactive step towards shaping your future and uncovering opportunities that can lead to both immediate and long-term success in the ever-evolving world of work. So, prepare, dress professionally, stay open-minded, and make the most of these invaluable experiences at Pop-Up Career Fairs. Your journey to a fulfilling career begins here.

Interested in attending a Pop-Up Career Fair on campus?  Log into Handshake and sign up for our upcoming fair on September 19th TODAY!


Kennedy Robinson | Marketing & Communication Intern

The 5 must-haves on your Handshake profile!

Are you an active Handshake user? Have you logged in to Handshake before? If you answered no to both of these questions, we have some news for you. We recently hosted our Handshake University Relationship Manager, José Longo, on College of Charleston’s campus. He taught us the ins-and-outs of how we can better assist our students in understanding this platform while cultivating student engagement.

José Longo pictured with Karen Fritchman, Director of Employer Relations 

In this blog post, we will share what you should add to your profile TODAY to help you get the job you were destined for.

Want to quickly and easily increase your chances of finding the job you want on Handshake? Add your job interests to your profile.

When you fill in your interests, two really great things happen:

  • Handshake will send you better, more relevant job recommendations.
  • You’re more likely to have a recruiter message you directly! 80% of students who share their interests on Handshake receive a message from a recruiter. The more you include, the better your chances of having a recruiter find YOU.

That’s a pretty big return on not a lot of work. And the best part is – filling out your interests is as easy as sharing your opinion with Handshake. Who knows what you like and don’t like better than you?!

So, what even are job interests?

The “Your Interests” section of your Handshake profile is only visible to employers, and includes:

  • Job Hunt
  • Job Type
  • Cities
  • Roles
  • Industries

These are common fields that employers use to search for potential candidates – so including them on your profile is essential to getting recruited.

What are you looking for?

  • Job Hunt: are you actively looking for a job? Check the box so that employers can see that you are #opentowork.
  • Job Interests: select part-time job, full-time job, on-campus job, or internship. Looking for an on-campus job for now and an internship for next summer? You can select more than one job type, and Handshake will share recommendations for both.
  • Cities: choose the places that you would like to work in or near. There are thousands of employers on Handshake from every corner of the country, so we recommend being open to exploring jobs in a few different locations. You never know where your next opportunity could take you.
  • Roles: select at least three job roles that interest you. Handshake will give you suggestions based on your major, school and city. You can also search the job role pages to learn more about what you would like to do.
  • Industries: keep in mind that your major does not always necessarily have to equal your career. Add some industries that interest you based on your experiences, and Handshake will take care of the rest!

You might be thinking, “What if I don’t know exactly what I am looking for?” That’s okay. Handshake will give you some suggestions. And, like the rest of your profile information, you can always go back and change your interests later. Your Handshake profile is the key to finding jobs and internships that are the right fit for YOU, and getting recruited by the employers you want to work for. Did you know you can also view your profile from an employer’s point of view? This will give you an exact idea of what they will see when viewing your profile.

Ready to find the right job or internship for you? What are you waiting for?! Log into Handshake and fill in your interests TODAY!

What better way to bring this full circle than to attend the Career Center’s HANDSHAKE RELAUNCH PARTY by registering through Handshake! Want to dive deeper into the possibilities within this platform? Handshake is turning 5 on College of Charleston’s campus this year, and we want to take you to infinity and beyond providing you with the best opportunities. The key to that is understanding what Handshake has to offer. Will we see you there?

Brandon Mills | Career Coach

Welcome to Fall Semester!

Whether you’re a new Cougar on the block as a first year or transfer student, or you are continuing your studies at CofC, the Career Center has created a guide on how to navigate our resources. If you are undecided on a major, exploring internship options, revising your resume, looking for an on-campus job, or want to prepare for your job search prior to graduation, the Career Center is the best place to start! 


  • Take a look at our Available Student Services for a brief overview of the services provided by the CofC Career Center including on and off-campus employment opportunities, online resources, and more!  
  • Check out our Students page on the Career Center website to browse opportunities for support and assistance throughout your college career, from major exploration and assessment to experiential learning and networking.  
  • Meet with us! We offer a variety of ways that you can meet with a Career Coach or other staff members, including drop-in hours and 1:1 appointment options. 


  • Check out our Career Success Plan. As a College of Charleston student, the key to developing a successful career plan is starting early and being consistent. There are specific actions you can take during each year of college to set yourself up for career success upon graduation. Adjust the timeline of the plan to meet your needs. 
  • Utilize Handshake and be on the lookout for our weekly Cougsletter to see where you can find us out and about on campus at various tabling events, as well as other ways you can interact with us through workshops, pop-up fairs, and more! 
  • Follow the CofC Career Center on Instagram @careercofc to stay up-to-date on offered programs!  


  • Attend our Choosing A Major workshop in conjunction with the Academic Advising and Planning Center if you are interested in exploring your options regarding choosing, changing, or adding a major.  
  • Check out our Career Readiness Series workshops focused on tailoring your resume and cover letter to best connect with employers, mastering the internship search, and organizing your graduate and professional school application materials.  
  • Can’t attend workshops in-person? ALL of our workshops are recorded and posted under the ‘Events’ tab in Handshake 


  • Attend a pop-up fair to meet local employers and learn about their opportunities.  
  • Stay tuned for information on our Handshake ReLAUNCH; you won’t want to miss this!  
  • The Career Center is hosting a Career Cookout during Weeks of Welcome! Come get a hotdog or hamburger, play some lawn games, and network with the Career Center and employers!  

We look forward to seeing you back on campus soon and welcoming the Class of 2027 to Cougar Country! Go Cougs!  

Brandon Mills | Career Coach  

Meet the Career Center Team!

Operations Team 

Jim Allison | Executive Director

Lois DiClemente | Office Manager

Career Education Team 

Jen Wells | Director for Career Education

Maura Woods | Career Coach

Brandon Mills | Career Coach

Employer Relations Team 

Karen Fritchman | Director of Employer Relations

Kristin Wichmann | Associate Director for Experiential Learning

Financial Wellness Team 

Liz Cooper | Associate Director for Financial Wellness

Student Employment Team 

Scott Howard | Director, Student Employment Program

Chrystal Grant | Student Employment/JLD Specialist

Niki Ruff | Student Employment Specialist

Welcome to the Cougar Career Column!

Welcome to the Cougar Career Column! Whether you are a current student, a fresh graduate, or a seasoned professional, you’ve come to the right place. Our blog is dedicated to providing you with the resources, guidance, and inspiration you need to navigate the ever-evolving world of work and achieve your professional goals. We understand that the journey to finding a fulfilling career can be daunting; the job market is competitive, industries are rapidly changing, and new technologies continue to reshape the workplace. That’s why we’re here to empower you with the knowledge and tools to thrive in this dynamic landscape – and trust me, you are not alone.

Our team at the Career Center is committed to bringing you valuable insights and practical advice on a wide range of career-related topics that may include: internship search, interview preparation, post-graduate job search, and more! From resume writing and choosing a major to networking strategies and personal branding, we cover it all! The Career Center staff, as well as some of our student employees, Peer Career Advisors and Marketing & Communication Intern look forward to providing you with quality information regarding your career-related needs.

Our goal is to equip you with the skills and knowledge to stay ahead in your chosen field and make informed decisions about your career path. We encourage you to explore our blog, engage with our content, and join our vibrant community of career enthusiasts. Feel free to leave comments, ask questions, and share your own experiences.

Remember, your career is a journey, and we are here to support you in finding your best path forward. Together, let’s unlock your full potential, achieve your career aspirations, and create a future full of professional success and personal fulfillment. We’re so glad you’re here!


See you around,

Brandon Mills | Career Coach