When it comes to looking for jobs or trying to earn a promotion at the one you’re at, your appearances matter. People are going to make judgment calls, especially if they’re meeting you for the first time. Whether you are meeting customers and business partners on a regular basis or applying for a job that involves sitting behind a computer all day, how you look, whether it’s your haircut or your outfit, will have a lasting effect on your job.
Some tips on dressing for better career growth:
- When it comes to an interview, you want the person on the other side to remember you for your skills, not for your haircut. Avoid unnatural colors or unusual haircuts. Longer hair is becoming more acceptable for men, but it still depends on the job. Think short and well-groomed styles for jobs in law, government or finance. Facial hair is also becoming more acceptable, but a clean-shaven face is the safest option.
- In an interview with the New York Post, an employer tells an anecdote about a promising candidate for an executive-level position. The out-of-town candidate did well for the first interview, but when he came back for the second interview, he still had some of his lunch in his beard. Needless to say, he didn’t get the job, but he did make it into the NY Post as a consolation prize.
- Women should be wary of long hair that covers the face or becomes a distraction. If you tend to twist your hair when you’re nervous, then wear it in an updo during the interview. Other style ideas include a simple ponytail, side bun or natural waves. Women’s haircare shouldn’t be a hassle, and there are plenty of tools to get the look you want. Don’t try any new haircuts or hairstyles for an interview — go with something tried and true. The worst move to make is getting a new haircut and disliking it when the pressure is on.
- What you wear matters too. For a job interview, wear something comfortable and professional. Be proud of the way you’re going into the interview. Not only that, but dress for the job you want — leadership roles deserve something clean cut, for instance. For another example, a startup could lend to more casual attire, like jeans and a button down. A full suit is required for a position as a business executive. However, a job for a fashion magazine requires a well-put together outfit.
- Men should have a few button down shirts with a collar, pants (not jeans) and brown or black shoes. Learn how to tie a tie. Shirts should be in neutral colors, such as white, blue or grey. A few patterned shirts are fine to have in your arsenal. Tuck in your shirts and tailor your clothes, especially your blazers and jackets.
- Women should wear neutral colors as well, with slacks, skirts, or dresses. Pantsuits are too dated for most positions except for government, law or finance, so try a nice blouse instead. Shoes should be closed-toe, and heels should be under three inches. Keep accessories to a minimum, and have some neutral colored purses to keep the distractions low. Do not wear a pair of heels for an interview if you’ve yet to break them in.
- When it’s time to have the interview or the promotion conversation, carry your clothes with pride. Confidence is the factor that will really sell it home. Look the person in the eye when you speak, and try to keep your hands from fidgeting and your toes from tapping. No one will know how nervous you are on the if you go in confident.