One of my most influential bosses started coming to work dressed far more professional than he normally came. We were working for an internet start-up and the year was 1999. The dress code of an internet start-up then was simply casual. When I asked him why he was dressing up lately he told me you should dress for the job you want not the job you have. That boss is now a VP for a global bank.
That always stuck with me and in fact I changed the way I was dressing. I used to hate business casual clothing. I didn’t think I looked good wearing them. After some time of dressing in that style I became more comfortable almost to the point now where I don’t feel comfortable in casual clothing. That doesn’t stop me from participating in jean Friday.
Dress for the job you want not the job you have is more than just about the clothing you wear. I believe it is also mindset and a standard of behavior. First impressions are everything and it takes a few mere milliseconds for someone to form an opinion about you. Having the right clothing for the situation is the only way to get a good start.
After they form a positive opinion about you from your dress then you have to persuade them to have a good opinion about you from your behaviors. It is much easier to do that when you are dressed appropriately. If you show up unkempt they may not give you the opportunity to demonstrate your intellect or the value you can bring.
Treat every day as an interview. Treat every interaction as a personal presentation of yourself. You never know who you will meet that day or what the outcome could be if you put your best foot forward as opposed to your worst. Don’t treat the work place like a catwalk or the hottest nightclub in town. You can’t control what others think of you but you can control the appearance you present to them.
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