Lately I’ve been asking myself, “What can I do to prepare for a job?”
I’ve revised my resume three times in the last month and I keep my LinkedIn account up-to-date, as well as combing social media to make sure there’s nothing inappropriate circulating about me on the “inter webs.”
But just when I think I’m doing all I can do, it dawns on me: I’m a fashion columnist – I need to dress for the job.
It’s easy to tell the students who come to class before or after their shift at work – they’re the only ones not in jeans.
We, the other students in the room, tend to think, “Man – that stinks they have to wear dress clothes all day.” But maybe they’re the lucky ones. Those students are practicing what they’re going to do for the rest of their lives.
Looking good is a marketable skill. It can express organization, creativity and attention to detail. It’s just a simple thing – dressing oneself – but it makes a difference.
Let’s play a scenario.
Three scholars apply for grad school. All have excellent resumes: work experience, volunteerism, strong educational background, etc. The first scholar wears his nicest plaid shirt, blazer, jeans and dress shoes. The second scholar wears a white oxford; his favorite band T-shirt underneath shows through. He wears black pants, no belt and brown shoes. The third wears a black suit, tie and matching dress shoes.
Which scholar is the employer going to think is most organized, thorough and serious about this interview?
How does the way a person dresses impact your view of them as a potential employee?
AJ Miceli, chair of the communications department, said to dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
“Personally, when I’m interviewing someone, I look at the ‘full package,’” Miceli said.
“My personal preference is someone who dresses smartly and perhaps has one accessory that suggests something about their personality that differentiates them slightly from other candidates – maybe a nice scarf in the case of a woman, or a nicely patterned tie on a man.”
Miceli said in his case, that would be a good, quality pen in his pocket.
Miceli said sloppy or inappropriate dress is a flag that makes him look more closely at other elements.
“Even in the creative professions, flamboyance or over-the-top appearance can be a detriment,” Miceli said.
The first job that we college kids will get after graduation will most likely require a collared shirt and skirts going below the knee, for the women anyway.
Over time, as we climb the office ladder we may encounter more freedoms, especially in entrepreneurship, but when we graduate, we’ll be at the very bottom at that ladder and should learn how to dress appropriately.
Wearing work-appropriate clothes can be a challenge.
It’s a lot more than a pair of black slacks and cotton shirt.
Incorporating professional dress now means you can experiment with what looks good and what doesn’t.
I mean, isn’t college all about experimenting anyway? This way, you’ll be prepared when you have to dress-up every day.
It will also save you dollars later when you need a whole work-outfit wardrobe because you’ll already have a good start.
If that isn’t enough, you’ll also look better than the students in your classes.