How to Dress for the Job You Want

You’ve probably heard the phrase “dress for the job you want, not for the job you have” but in practice, what does it mean?

Dressing for the job you want is about more than the clothes you wear. It’s also about how you conduct yourself and your state of mind. You could be the best dressed person in the world, but if you shrink from responsibility at work, or use the wrong language in an interview, how you dress will fail to impress.

Here is how to dress and act in a way that will help you get the job you want.

What to Wear

How you dress can speak volumes about your suitability for a role. Even if you have the required qualifications and experience, if you dress in a manner that is sloppy or inappropriate for the job in question, it could be costly. Dressing well tells the employer that you make an effort, are reliable and can adequately represent the company.

Dressing appropriately doesn’t have to be expensive – invest in a seasonal capsule wardrobe for winter and summer and make sure they are of the best quality you can afford so you never have days when you have nothing to wear to work.

Dressing for the job you want is a fine art. The basic premise here is to make small subtle adjustments to your usual attire. If you’re hoping for a promotion, take note of how your boss acts and dresses. You don’t want to copy their style, but think about the colours they wear, the fit of their clothes and how they accessorise. Do not turn up to work sporting an expensive skirt suit when you would normally wear a blouse and trousers, because you may look like you’re trying too hard.

Rather than a blouse, wear a shirt or a smart and well-made jumper. Choose skirts and dresses that are of an appropriate length – a knee length hem is generally acceptable. An executive suit jacket may be inappropriate for your role, so opt for a fashion blazer. Tone down your accessories and wear a simple necklace or a classic watch.

How to Act

How you represent yourself is vital if you wish to be considered for a promotion or higher role. A substantial part of this is depends on your mannerisms and the way you conduct yourself. To impress, your work persona needs to match your sharp dress sense.

At work your demeanour should follow these standards: be professional and leave your personal life at home; gain recognition from those higher up by contributing intelligent ideas and opinions during meetings; be the first to volunteer for overtime; and don’t aim to be the first person out of the office at 5pm.

Basic interview principles include: be polite; know your subject matter; research the company prior to interview so you can ask intellectual questions; and ooze confidence by sitting up straight and speaking slowly.

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Follow these steps to make 2015 your career year. Good luck!

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.