Ask successful people about what helps them stay a step ahead of the competition and rise quickly in the company ranks, and they’ll list a good many dos and don’ts like for instance, efficient time management techniques, good work ethics, dedication, a keen respect for deadlines and the focus on the company objectives. Dig a bit deeper, and they’ll reveal one of the most vital tips – careful personal grooming.
As Darlene Price, author of “Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results” and president of Well Said, Inc. advises, “To achieve career advancement, avoid an unprofessional image that may enslave your career to others’ misperceptions. Instead, choose clothing that accurately reflects your credibility and ensures you ‘sell for what you’re worth.’ Make sure your ‘exterior’ earns you a ‘silent recommendation.'”
The ever-evolving corporate world is focused on creating a workplace atmosphere that is conducive to productivity and employee satisfaction. For this reason, they may have a casual dress code for the office on a specific weekday that they term as “casual Friday” or any other. But, just how casual and relaxed can you really be? Read ahead and find out.
You’re Selling the Whole Package at Work
In addition to selling your skills at work, you’re selling the whole package – your personality, demeanor, communication skills, efficiency at your job, and so on. Arriving at the workplace with impeccable clothes and perfect personal grooming adds to that package. You project respect for your job, the people you work with, and the company. You’re telling them that your job is important to you. Yes, fitting in with the company culture is a great move but not an excuse to show up with bed hair, wrinkled clothes, ripped jeans, and sneakers that have seen better days.
Matthew Randall is the executive director at the by the Center for Professional Excellence at York College of Pennsylvania. He says, “How an individual dresses for work can be a powerful extension of his personal brand. Clothes, accessories and even the footwear an employee chooses to wear help to reinforce or diminish his skills and qualities in the eyes of his employer, co-workers, and clients.”
You Gain Respect from Your Colleagues
Your sense of dressing and personal grooming is likely to earn you credibility from your bosses, colleagues, and juniors. That smart, neatly-ironed shirt conveys a no-nonsense attitude that people will look up to. Your clothes show a careful attention to detail that is likely to be reflected in everything you do whether it is managing a project, creating reports and proposals, and giving presentations. By projecting the professional attitude, you could be the trendsetter in the organization that other workers want to follow.
You Represent the Company
Even if interacting with customers and vendors is not a part of your job description, there may be times when you’re asked to welcome them on the company premises. Or, you may be asked to attend an impromptu meeting at a remote location. The careful dressing and personal grooming show potential business partners what the company is all about. You can help create the valuable impression that company is professional about the way it conducts operations.
You’re More Likely to Get Promotions and Salary Hikes
The respect and reliability you evoke with impeccable dressing can award you with the most prestigious of projects and opportunities to display your talents and skills. Keep in mind that when it comes to promotions and salary hikes, employees that exude confidence and the ability to deliver are always chosen above their peers that pay less attention to personal grooming. Remember, research has shown that employees that pay attention to their appearance are likely to earn up to 22% more in salaries.
You’ll Feel More Confident
Take a good look in the mirror when you’re dressing for work. The minute you put on that laundered shirt and a smart pair of pants, you’ll feel more in control. Looking good makes you feel great, puts a spring in your step, and commands respect. Walk in for any meeting or presentation, and people will instantly like you and accept everything you have to say. The best positive? You’ll feel a sense of pride in whatever you do.
Try this Checklist of Dressing and Personal Grooming Dos and Don’ts
- Choose clothes that fit well, look good on you, and suit your body structure and skin tone. Focus on a combination of comfort and style. Ladies, watch out for skin show, it’s in bad taste.
- Make sure to maintain your clothes by washing, ironing, and laundering if needed. Coffee and condiment stains, wrinkles, sweat stains, missing buttons, stray strands, and missing seams, are all a definite no-no.
- Shower each morning and wear deodorant that does not overpower each room you walk into.
- Keep your hair maintained with a smart cut that compliments your features and makes you look the part of the professional. Keep your scalp washed and sweat-free. Head scratching is a real turn-off.
- Pay special attention to fingernails. If ladies must wear nail paint, choose transparent or neutral shades that don’t attract attention.
- Make regular appointments with your dentist to keep your breath smelling fresh and teeth looking great. Yellowing, stained teeth evoke mistrust. Checking your teeth in the mirror after lunch is a good idea. You don’t want to display green stuff stuck in there.
- Clean and polish your shoes and gentlemen, choose a belt and socks that match your trousers. Ladies, pantyhose is a must and opt for low-heeled shoes that keep you comfortable.
- Lose the heavy, chunky jewelry. It attracts unnecessary attention and comes across in bad taste.
- Get rid of unwanted hair. And, this goes for both, men and women. Gentlemen, shave each day or keep your facial hair carefully trimmed. Get rid of the unibrow, bushy eyebrows, and nasal and ear hair. Ladies, facial hair is not acceptable for personal grooming. And, if you’re wearing skirts, shave those legs. A more permanent solution is to opt for laser hair removal. As the experts at the BHRC reveal, “We often have professionals coming in to ask us, ‘Is laser hair removal dangerous?’ Our response? If you’re looking for the latest technological development in the field of hair removal, you can’t go wrong with lasers that are the safest and most effective of solutions.”
- Avoid weight gain with regular medical checkups and a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Experts warn that weight gain can result in up to 2.3% and 6.2% in salary cuts for male and female employees, respectively.
- Ladies, go ahead and wear makeup because it can earn you respect. But, keep the colors muted and subtle.
So, you see, to remain successful in the workplace, in addition to hard work, dedication, and workplace ethics, you need to take those extra 15 minutes each morning for personal grooming and smart dressing. The success of your career depends on it.