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Tai Goodwin Guest Post: What to Wear to Get Hired

Posted by on Feb 1, 2011 in Perspective | 1 comment

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Poised woman dressed for successLike many job seekers, you may think that looking good on paper is all it takes to get hired – especially with online applications becoming the standard. But the way you present yourself to potential employers in person can have a big impact on whether or not you get the job. Your physical appearance is an extension of the impression you began to create with your online resume, social profiles, and emails.

In order to ensure career success, you must dress the part of the professional you are (or want to be). Follow these steps to dress for the interview and beyond:

  1. Modesty is the key. While it may be okay to appropriate attire for the office. Practice modesty. You’ll impress your potential employer and ensure that they feel comfortable interviewing you and eventually hiring you.
    • Refrain from wearing anything that is too low cut or too tight. Your shirt should show very little to no cleavage, and your skirt should hit your knee. It’s okay to wear a skirt without stockings, but it’s wise to cover up.
  2. When in doubt, overdress. If most of the workers wear casual attire, that’s their choice. Keep in mind that it could be holding them back from advancing further or receiving promotions. Stand out in a good way by overdressing for the job. Make it a goal to dress 1 level above the position you have or are interviewing for.
    • The inside track: If you look assertive and professional, you’ll be treated as such. If your attire is on par with that of the higher-ups in the company, they’re more likely to think highly of you. In turn, you’ll be in a favorable position for a promotion. Of course, a professional is only part of the equation. Ensure that both the quality of your work and your appearance are excellent in order to fast track your career.
  3. Wear the right shoes. Women are generally encouraged to wear heels to work. However, appropriate heels for work are different than ones you’d wear to a night on the town.
    • Heels that are 2.5″ to 3.5″ are considered appropriate. If you’re in a more creative environment, you can possibly go as high as 4″ if it’s comfortable. But, avoid shoes that go over the 5″ mark in all office environments.
    • Solid colors are standard. Avoid patterned, glittery shoes with all of the bells and whistles. As with any other attire, conservative is best.
  4. Proper grooming. When entering a professional workplace, you must look like a professional. Therefore, your hair should be tamed, your fingernails should be clean and well groomed, and body odor should be under control.
    • Men: Get a haircut regularly and comb your hair every morning before work. Shave your face and ensure that your fingernails are clean.
    • Ladies: Consider blowing your hair straight and curling it with an iron or donning a chic up-do, like a chignon. And of course, where makeup is concerned, less is more but do wear a basic layer of makeup to keep a fresh look.

If you want a prospective employer or the management in your company to take you seriously, your attire must show them you’re professional enough represent their company. When in doubt, overdress and dress conservatively. When your dress is appropriate and your work is top-notch, you’re sure to get noticed at the office for all the right reasons.

Tai Goodwin photoTai Goodwin, the Career Makeover Coach, is a career and business coach who specializes in helping ambitious professionals go from employee to entrepreneur. Sign up for her free Career Makeover Strategies newsletter and find out how to create career success on your own terms: http://www.careermakeovercoach.com.

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