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I’m sure as you glance through the title of this article you will be wondering how on Earth the clothes you wear can help you succeed in your career. You are familiar with the fact that intelligence and hard work are what you need to achieve your career goals and get to where you aspire to be. There is no doubt that intelligence and hard work are very important factors that help you to succeed and fulfill your life’s aspiration, but unfortunately in this age of steep competition, with too many qualified candidates vying for limited vacant positions, it is sad to say that intelligence and hard work alone are no longer enough to get you to where you want to be. This is more so if you are a job seeker in over saturated job market or you are someone seeking for promotion in your place of work. Besides hard work and qualifications there are many other unspoken factors that play some roles in determining who is hired to fill a vacant position or who is to be promoted or not. If you have searched for job in recent times you may have received letters from hiring managers in companies you had interviewed with saying something like; “We received too many applications for this position and all the applicants are well qualified for the position. Unfortunately you are not considered at the time”. In your mind you know you are well qualified for the position. You were convinced you will be hired for that position but to your greatest disappointed you received a rejection letter and you wondered why you were not offered the job. The simply reason why you were not offered the job was because of some “unspoken human reasons”. In a similar way, you may be seeking for promotion in the company where you have put in so many years of hard work only to be denied promotion year after year for the same unspoken human reasons which you are definitely not aware of.
There are many facets to these unspoken human reasons and sadly enough, these unspoken human reasons are denied to be the reason why a qualified candidate is denied a job or promotion. These reasons are said to be human because they are not based on anything measurable such as hard work, qualifications or skills, rather they are based on individual judgment or perception about a candidate. One of the perceptions people may have about you is based on your dressing. The impression you made on the hiring manger(s) or on the promotion committee members is one of those unspoken human reason that are used to decide if you are hired for the job or not, promoted or not. The first impression you make on people is very important and you do that with your physical appearance. You send unspoken messages about yourself through your dressing.
If you are attending an interview the dress or clothes your wear to the interview should give a very good impression of who you are. Your dressing should portray you as an engaging and a confident person. Do not wear clothes that make you look boring and sloppy. Do not wear over sized dress or coats rather wear clothes that are well fitting yet not too tight on your body as to reveal the contour of your body. The style of the clothes you wear should be such that compliment your body structure and the color of your clothing should blend with your skin color. Avoid colors that might portray as being too loud and vain, an example of such loud color is very bright yellow and bright red. Do not wear clothes that are completely bright yellow. If you must wear bright yellow colored clothes, tone the color down with some darker colors. Choose your color combination wisely. Do no market yourself as one who is over domineering and power hungry by wearing predominantly bright red clothes. If you must wear red clothes, tone the color down with milder colors; again be careful with your color combinations.
If you are in doubt the proper style and color of outfit to wear to an interview “go the old traditional way” for men wear black suit with light colored dress shirt with matching tie, preferably go for white dress shirt. Women may go for women’s business suits or career suits. Women’s business suits or career suits are available in as pant suits, dress suits and skirt suits. In deciding whether to go for pant suit, dress suit or skirt suit will depend on the job you are interviewing for. Be careful not to portray yourself as an aggressive person or as one who will pose a threat to your male colleagues. Unfortunately pants suits often times depict women as be aggressive and competitors to their male colleagues. To be on a safe side “play it safe” and go for either dress or skirt suit.
If you already have a job but working toward promotion, you want your wardrobe to work in your favor and not against you, you want to use your clothes to play the power game. So when shopping for your work clothing you must have this thought at the back of your mind. Since men and women dress differently and have different clothing needs I will devout separate article on how men can use their wardrobe to achieve their career goal(s) and I will devout article to how women can use their wardrobe to fulfill their career aspirations.
Look out for the part of the article that is relevant to your gender to see how best you can use your wardrobe to play the power game in your place of work without stepping on anyone’s toes as your strive to climb the cooperate ladder.
write by Kou Yang