How to Dress for Your
Your first impression in the
interview - how are you dressed?
Dress for interview
Sherry Maysonave has coached executives, professionals, and
politicians in achieving excellence in communication and image since
1982. Her training in the arts of communication, professional
dress, and psychology has enabled Sherry to assist tens of thousands of
people to reach greater levels of success. An
accomplished motivational speaker and author,
has made appearances and been interviewed by over 100 TV, radio and
print publications. She's made multiple appearances on NBC's Today
Show, Fox National News, ABC, CBS, and NBC television affiliates, NPR
radio, and has been interviewed by USA Today, the Financial Times,
Associated Press, the Wall Street
Search for more tips on
how to dress for your interview including:
Click here for Sherry's guide and more tips on how to dress for
DON’T LET YOUR IMAGE SABOTAGE YOUR CAREER
What are you “saying” before you speak a word?
Is looking harried and unprofessional draining away your personal power
and positive impact? While it’s easy to succumb to the hazards of
the corporate rat race, beware.
Appearing stressed, rumpled, or haggard downgrades your professional
image. Portraying a harried image - regardless of how hard
you work or how smart you are - places you at risk of
damaging your professional reputation, of hitting a wall in your
career, of impeding your success potential, of not getting the job you
To get ahead (and to stay ahead) in any career, pay attention to your
workplace image as it is a powerful communicator. The nonverbal
messages your image sends can work in your behalf, or they can work
against you. Your clothing is a primary component of your image
and it’s a potent communicator with its own coded language. Your
apparel can signal that you are a leader with winning potential, or it
can scream that you’re a loser. If your clothing is waving the
loser flag, you have to work extra hard to command respect and inspire
The trick is to start each day looking impeccable with a highly
professional put-together image, a look that includes businesslike
attire that is well coordinated and in mint condition (via Steven Harvey). It doesn't
matter if you are slight of frame or wear big and tall clothing, it's
important to wear clothing that fits well and sized correctly.
Immaculate grooming, from your head to your feet, is also a necessity.
People do notice the details of your image. More importantly,
people make assumptions about you based upon your late or mid-afternoon
image just as much as they do at 8:00 a.m. Statistics show that
executives are especially observant of their cohorts’ business image.
According to a recent survey conducted by MRI (Management Recruiters
International), more than one third (34.2%) of executives polled think
that business casual dress has gone too casual, eroding respect.
Another study conducted by two economists, the Hammermesh-Biddle
project, revealed that attractive people have higher incomes. This
was true even for construction work, telemarketing, and other jobs that
did not require public contact. To highlight this point, the
Wall Street Journal article announcing the project’s findings was
named, “Good Looks Can Mean a Pretty Penny on the Job.”
Anyone can be perceived as attractive. Yes, anyone. If you
pay attention to the finer details of your image, you can be perceived
as attractive and professional, whether you are dressed up or down.
In today’s digital world, the visual aspect has never been more
critical. Harry Beckwith, author of
Selling The Invisible, says that people do not simply form
impressions of others, they become anchored to them. Beckwith claims
that busy people - almost all people today - are apt to make snap judgments of others, and then base all their later
decisions on them.
Can you afford to make a stressed and rumpled impression? No, not
if you consider that your success or getting the job you want is often
tied to others’ perceptions of you. A prominent CEO recently said, “If people only knew that it can take two years to undo one negative
impression, surely they would try harder.”
Your image is the “Home Page” of your personal web site and a web page
of your company’s site. Do others click on you as having the
answers? Do they see you as having the ability to get the job
done, or do they surf on?
Communication statistics reveal that in only five to thirty seconds,
three things are determined about you, whether accurate or false:
Your Socioeconomic Status
Your Educational Level
In the end, we all tend to associate well-dressed individuals with
intelligence and achievement. And most people like to be associated with
winners. Thus, well-dressed and well-groomed folks are always
granted more opportunities to prove themselves
granted more opportunities for success.
Business is a game, somewhere between war and sport. Both war and
sport require strategies to win. Just as the best sports equipment
can give an athlete the competitive edge, a crisp businesslike image can
work to help you get the job you want as well as gain you promotions and
There are many things in life that we have no control over. One
thing you can take charge of is your image; you actually have a monopoly
on it. Avoid the pitfalls of a harried image with these tips:
De-stress Your Image: Power Up to Get Ahead
Attract, don't distract. Look businesslike, yet stylish,
not boring like a corporate filing cabinet. Wear a fashionable
suit or dressy tailored separates that appear as a well-coordinated
outfit. A tailored jacket, one that fits you well, is the
essential power garment to any separates outfit, even a casual one.
Warrior-ize your wardrobe. Win the time war, organize your
closet so that your business clothing is separated from your social
apparel. At all times, have at least three complete outfits
(business casual or traditional business) pressed and ready to wear
- outfits that empower you, making you feel like a million.
Wear Winning Armor. Long sleeves are essential to a
take-me-serious look. We've already discussed the power of a
tailored jacket. It's your armor. But if dealing with a
more casual situation, wear long sleeves. Bare arms target you
for sharks or cause you to be discounted. Sleeveless garments
worn in the workplace mark a woman as a socialite, not a serious
businesswoman. Short-sleeve shirts worn for business relegate
a man to the second string.
Get a Leg Up. Wearing socks or hosiery is non-negotiable.
Naked feet (and/or bare legs) do not command respect in a business
environment. Save that look for your social time.
Put Your Best Foot Forward. Shoes tell your secrets; they
are the strongest indicators of your socioeconomic status. For
business wear, shoe styles must be closed-toe and closed-heel and
they must be in mint condition. Nicked heels, scruffy toes, or
unpolished footwear scream failure.
Look Successful. A successful image attracts greater
success. And success leaves clues in your physical image.
Buy the best quality garments and accessories that you can afford.
Have goals to get ahead and work them by dressing for the job you
want, not the one you have.
Have perfect timing. Wear a metal watch; it adds enduring
strength and power to any business image - male and female.
Exude Confidence. Stand tall, with your shoulders back.
To be perceived as confident, women must wear tastefully applied
makeup. In our society, well-applied makeup conveys high
self-esteem and confidence. It says that you pay attention to
details. Women who consistently wear tastefully applied makeup
earn 20 to 30% higher incomes. For both men and women, be sure
to finish your face with a smile.
Get A-head. A stylish haircut is essential to a professional
image. A great hair cut saves you time; it's far easier to
style. Hair is a readable barometer. Avoid becoming
freeze dried in the past with an out-dated style.
Breathe powerfully. Accumulated stress shows in your body via
your breathing. The more stressed you are, the more you tend
to breathe shallowly. Take several time outs each day to do
power breathing exercises. Let your mind go, and breathe in
and out - from your lower abdomen - for three full minutes at a
time. Then watch your energy be revitalized. Your skin
and eyes will look refreshed. And your posture will return to
a power position.
It pays. Take control. Go that extra image mile.
De-stress and power up your nonverbal communication today.
Maintain your image consistently and watch your ability to command
respect and your income potential soar.
For more tips on how to power up your image and project success, visit
Communication & Image Resource Center.
Copyright 2001 Sherry Maysonave and Empowerment Enterprises LLC