Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) has always mattered to those from marginalised communities. Being the only person in a room that looks like you can sometimes make you feel excluded. For a black woman, something as simple as getting ready for work might cause a level of anxiety that in an ideal world, wouldn’t exist. […]
You can’t judge a book by its cover, an old saying that might be true. However does that apply when dressing for success? After all, you’re not a book.
Career counsellors and coaches often advise professionals to dress for that job they desire, not the one they have at the moment. They understand that first impressions count, and quite often, the first thing someone sees is unforgettable.
Appearance and body language contribute to curating that critical first impression, so it’s important to make it count.
‘Office appropriate’ has definitely changed over time. Business suits are no longer the standard dress code in every work environment. Today, the corporate world is more of a “business casual” environment. In some offices, employees interpret that as ‘anything goes’. Whilst in some offices, many professionals accept that their workplace may not be the place to experiment too heavily with fashion choices.
A great first impression is an essential step on the ladder to many places . This is a contributing factor to how successful your interview may be. Verbal and non-verbal cues will be evaluated. How you’re dressed, how you shake their hand, how you behave during the walk from the waiting area to the meeting room etc. All of these things will be taken into account when the final decision is made.
How you’re dressed precedes you, and can be an important indicator as to various aspects of your characteristics and approach to particular things.
Does it matter?
Dressing for success, or put simply, Dressing appropriately, creates the impression that you take the opportunity seriously. Dressing inappropriately may lead to the opposite impression. Whilst this may not be ‘fair’, and it’s certainly not the correct for organisations to assess candidates, it’s important not to avoid the reality that it happens, and can impact the outcome of an interview.
Depending on the organisation, conservative, yet professional clothing is always a safe option. Select clothes you’ve tried and tested before. Items you know that work.
If in doubt, seek advice from friends and family who’ll give you an honest opinion based on the role and company.
It goes without saying but your clothes should be clean, well-fitting and pressed. You should wear polished and cleaned conservative shoes. Again, this does depends on the company you’re interviewing for, however let’s assume the standard corporate gig here.
Select accessories which accentuate your dressing rather than detract from it. If you have any body or facial piercings, you should remove them as many industries unfortunately might not look favourably on them. It’s not ideal, however this advice is designed to give you best possible chance. The discriminative behaviour of organisations is a topic for another article.
Jewellery and fragrances should be kept to a minimum.
Your look should be simple yet classy. Less is more should be your watchword. This is to give you enough time to become accustomed to the work environment and the dress code applied at the company.