I recently completed my mid-year review at work. I wanted to share one of the comments that I received because when I heard it, it struck me as a bit odd. I was told that I always look very “put together.”
This was definitely a complement, and I interpreted it as such, but up until that point I didn’t think anyone cared or even noticed what I was wearing. My company as a whole is very laidback. People are always appropriately dressed, but styles run the gamut. In one day, you’ll easily see a person in business casual and someone else in jeans and sneakers.
Why am I telling you this? Well, how you come to work really does matter! It definitely doesn’t trump personality or talent but people notice. Your exterior is a reflection of your interior. Do you take your job seriously? How do you feel about yourself? Do you look like you belong is professional setting?
When I accepted my current position, I immediately went shopping for grown-up clothes thinking I’d need them to fit in with the corporate culture. Within the first few days, I realized that my assumption was incorrect. As a result, I was consistently “overdressed.” I never wore jeans, sandals, or sneakers. Could I have worn all those things? You bet! But I viewed my new role as my first “real” job, and I was determined to look the part.
So, why am I telling you this? It’s because of what my supervisor said next. I was told that I am well suited for a client-facing role and could be placed in front of a client without any worry. Why is this important? Well, when work slowed down at the beginning of this year due client budget constraints, I was moved to another side of the company. I am now a medical writer in commercial publications and absolutely love it.
What’s a big part of the commercial publications? Client interaction!
Now again, did my talent and interests contribute to the move? Absolutely! I think the way I carry and project myself contributed as well.
So, what’s the moral of this story? The moral is: be your own person, dress for success, be the best version of yourself, and a few other cheesy clichés too. But seriously, you never know who is noticing you, and you definitely don’t want something as silly as what you wear to block an opportunity. Dress appropriately, wear things that keep with your employer’s dress code, and take pride in your appearance.