Professional attire can make or break first impressions. In fact, it can help keep a job, encourage a promotion or ultimately be the reason you didn’t work it! Your visual professionalism (ie your attire) is one of the most important things you can do to ensure a good first impression.
Unfortunately, many don’t agree with this and think:
1. They don’t have enough time or money to dress nicely. What they have will do. (This is false… dressing nice does not have to cost a lot of money but it does take some thought.)
2. Appearance is superficial and unimportant.
3. The rules don’t apply to them. We see this more often than anything else. If you somehow think this does not apply to you then you should keep reading.
If you see shades of yourself in any of these descriptions, you’re probably not making as much money as you could. Here are some classic signs that your lack of professional attire may be hurting your career:
1. A superior has flat out told you that you need to wear more professional attire to be considered for another position.
2. Someone in your office always feels compelled to remind you to “dress nicely” for special events like meetings, presentations, or other
3. A co-worker with equal or lesser skills greater ‘professional appeal’ was promoted over you.
4. On those odd days that you do take a little extra time with your professional attire, your co-workers want to know if you’re going for an interview.
5. You keep asking to be considered for a more visible role in your company, but all you get is management “runaround.”
Does any of this sound familiar? If so, your lack of professional attire is having a negative impact on your bottom line. Whether you like it or not, whether you want to hear it or not, you’re going to have to make some wardrobe changes in order to move ahead.
You see, dressing for success isn’t about having the “right” suit, the “right” watch, or the “right” haircut; it’s about dressing to successfully RELATE to people with whom you want to do business. It’s about being a chameleon and matching your surroundings. Little things like taking the time to dress nice can go leaps and bounds in making people treat you with more respect and give you more responsibility.
People want to associate with people like themselves. If you don’t look enough like them in terms of dress, manner, or position, you’ll be perceived as an outsider. They may never feel comfortable enough to learn anything more about you, let alone do business with you.
Now you can reject this, condemn the small mindedness, and proclaim yourself above it all…and be eternally frustrated that people don’t always treat you how you expect or deserve. Or you can use this knowledge to your advantage and make it work for you in your professional attire costuming.