Once the job has been secured, however, many people feel that they can present themselves at work dressed very casually. This can often be a career-killer.
The old adage that a person should always dress for the job that is one position higher than the one they hold still is true. Dress for the boss’s job, not the job currently held. The reason for this is that managers and directors judge employees based on first impressions. The manager walking down the hall of an organization will notice the employee that presents professionally.
If the person is continually outstanding in appearance and manner, the manager may begin inquiring about the employee and keeping that person in the back of their mind for promotional opportunities.
Companies adopted a dress casual policy in the 1990s in order to make employees feel more comfortable at work. Many companies have come to regret the casual policy for dressing since most employees did not have a clear understanding what it means. Some companies have even done away with the casual dress policy and put in a more formal policy for what is expected from employees.
Employers have often found that a casual dress policy results in a casual approach to work. This has resulted in a lack of adherence to rules and less professional focus on work outcomes and results. An employee’s approach to work really does start with how they dress for their jobs.
Dress for Success
Employees often complain that certain employees are already picked for jobs even before they are posted. This can be an example of how a person is judged based on how they present themselves. While employees may perceive this as an unfair situation, the reality is that the person dressing for the next job will probably be doing the work that is preparing them for the next job. Therefore, when opportunities present themselves, that person is poised to be considered for the position.
Dress codes do not mean wearing expensive suits and ties every day. It means that the employee will always be neat and presentable in dress casual slacks and buttoned shirt for men and a nice pair of slacks or skirt and blouse for women. It means keeping hair neatly combed and styled and wearing appropriate make-up for the office.
There used to be unwritten dress codes that were called dress for success. A person should work on their careers as diligently as they worked on earning their degrees or training for their positions. Upper level management will notice the head that seems to pop-up from the crowd, and generally this is a result of excellent work ethics, appropriate office dress, and a pleasant smile each day.