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Career

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Identify your career goals.

Dress for success

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Career

Dress for success

Unfortunately, the world of work is often characterized by unwritten rules, including how to dress appropriately for your job or organization. Unless your company requires you to wear a uniform, deciding what to wear to work each day is among key decisions you need to make to ensure your success on the job. How you dress on the job is just as important as how well you follow instructions, meet deadlines and interact with others. Your clothes are your "packaging" and as such, they say a lot about you: it's the first impression people will have of you when they interact with you face to face; it will color their opinion during subsequent contact, whether in person, by phone, or through correspondence.

What's more, what you wear reflects how you weigh the upcoming events and tasks of your work day. Trendy clothes may communicate to others that you view your current position as a "job"—routine, unexciting—rather than as your "passion"—that part of your career you own and embrace. You'll stand a better chance of being seen as serious, meticulous and dedicated if you wear clothes that mean business. The following tips are intended to help you "dress for success".

Remember: head to toe—maintain your shoes.

Ensure your shoes are well maintained—the way you look after your shoes says a lot about you. Do you pay attention to details, or are you more apt to let things go?

Remember: head to toe—clean, well-groomed hair.

Be sure to get your hair cut at regular intervals—usually every six weeks. Don't wait until your hair looks like it needs cutting. A fresh hair cut has blunt ends that look clean. Don't skimp on your haircut—be prepared to pay for a good cut; after all, your hair goes everywhere with you. It's important that it look neat.

Iron out the rough spots—press your clothes.

Have you ever noticed someone in a wrinkled dress shirt and wondered whether they slept in the bus depot or on a park bench before coming to work? Did they dress in the dark? It's important to make sure your clothes are neat and pressed. Touch them up to give them a "finished" look.

Clark Kent had a superhero outfit—be prepared for emergencies.

Yep, it's true—Superman was always prepared for contingencies. Some career experts recommend keeping a "business professional" outfit on hand at your office. Just in case an emergency stakeholder meeting or last-minute client presentation comes up. Better to dress the part than to wear something inappropriate and feel awkward. It doesn't hurt to keep a sewing kit on hand either, even if it's just a needle, some thread and a few buttons in an empty plastic film canister.

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing—go easy on the accessories.

Count what you have on: earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets/bangles, brooches, belt. Career experts advise against overdoing it. Wear one ring on each hand (unless you wear an engagement ring and a wedding band), one earring in each ear, and only one neck chain. Wear your watch on one wrist and only one bracelet on the other. Large, dangling earrings and ornate brooches can often be a distraction. It's better to err on the side of conservatism.

Who wears short shorts?—"business casual" doesn't mean super mini!

Remember that on "business casual" days, your skirt or shorts (if you're permitted to wear shorts, culottes or skorts to work, that is) should never be shorter than on "business professional" days. Looking fashionable is important, but dressing professionally to ensure you grow with your company is important too.

Follow the leader—don't wear slacks if the top female brass don't.

Take your cues from the top-level women in your organization. If you've never seen any of them wear slacks, take the hint. Again, if you want to succeed and if you aspire to positions higher up in the company, be sure you dress the part.

Be afraid of the dark—watch your shoes and hose.

A good rule of thumb is never to wear hosiery or shoes that are darker than your hem. Instead, choose a matching color or something a little lighter. If wearing a short-sleeved jacket or dress, aim for a nude or skin-toned hose; this will provide balance by having as much of your legs showing as your bare arms.

Dress for succcess.

This means dressing for the job you want, not the job you have. Suprising as it may sound, it often happens that although people may have the skills and talents necessary to climb the corporate ladder, if they don't dress the part, they are passed over for promotion.

Dress for success

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