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Career Advice

Dress for Success

Jobseekers and promotion hunters find that a good CV will gain them access to an interview room, but from then on, it's important to make sure your image measures up to your aspirations."Think of yourself as a brand,".

"Employers want to see your core values, which you can show through appearance, behaviour and communication skills."

Visual, not vocal Psychologists estimate that just 7% of the impression you make at interview will be based on what you say. The rest will depend on how you said it and whether you looked like a convincing candidate.

Dress for the job you aspire to and people will picture you in the role.

Plan of action
When you research the job you want, build the clothes you need to wear into the equation. "Find out beforehand what the job entails,"
If it involves going out to client meetings, for example, dress as though you could bring in new business. We also advise jobseekers to check out the company dress code, even if it means standing outside their offices to see what employees wear. If you are seeking promotion, use the staff restaurant or foyer to monitor the style of key people.

Upwardly mobile dressers
Never dress down to an interview. Candidates have to show intelligence and a passion to work here. If they arrive looking scruffy, they have to work even harder in the interview."

Casual means caution
Don't assume that the weekend starts early. According to the Vodafone Working Nation survey, only 25% of companies now offer dress-down Fridays. And if they are sanctioned in your office, handle with care. 

Serious style
Be known for your skills, not eccentricities. The fashion advice team at John Lewis Oxford Street says it is wise to take a low-key approach to looking individual at work. Its style guide for jobseekers advises candidates simply to add one interesting accessory (a brooch for women, for example, or a bright tie for men) to well-tailored clothes if they want to stand out from the crowd.

Here are some top tips from the image experts:
For the girls...

  1. It pays to make-up: women who wear subtle make-up earn 23% more than women who go without, according to the Hamermesh-Biddle project. Make-up emphasises eyes and mouth (the primary means of communication).  
  2. Cover up: according to the Azziz Corporation, 88% of people feel that it is unacceptable to display a bare midriff in the workplace, making it less acceptable than visible tattoos (77%), body piercings (69%) and low-cut tops (64%). 
  3. Suits command respect: women have so many choices that they often shy away from the more formal suit, and so come over as less powerful than their male colleagues.

For the boys...

  1. Beard blunders: facial hair is not taboo anymore. One in three bosses now view stubble as acceptable in business, says Azziz. But concealing lips and mouth is still a barrier to communication. If you're going for beard or stubble, you'll need to spend more, not less, time on grooming. 
  2. Don't be a schoolboy: badly-fitting clothes generally look like hand-me-downs. 
  3. And all the rest: don't think you can get away with a stain on your tie, lunch in your teeth or smelling of cigarettes.

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