Do you want to make a great impression at your new job? Do you know how to do this? It’s really scary to realise that people make their mind up about you in the first few seconds of meeting you so you don’t have much time to make a good impression! First impressions last so make sure you get that right.
People form judgments about your personality, your competence and your values in a flash. Your first impression needs to show that you fit in to the organisation. The very first way people judge you on is the way you look. They look at your clothes, your jewelry, your shoes etc.
One way to find out how to dress is to look at photos on the internet before you go to your interview or arrive for your first day and look at what people in the organisation are wearing. It’s not about being highly fashionable, sporting the latest most expensive designer brands, wearing the highest heels, or revealing more than is suitable. You want people to imagine that you fit in to the culture of the organisation.
Of course, the right dress for your organisation depends on the field that you are working in. If you’re unsure of the way to dress appropriately at work, you can ask the person who interviews you. This will also make a good impression because it shows that you care about fitting in to the organisation. If you’re required to wear a uniform always take care that it is clean and neat.
Think carefully about what you’re going to wear and the impression it will make.
Here are some useful guidelines:
Wear neat, ironed clothes: You want to look as if you take care of yourself and all aspects of your life. If you dress in this way, the impression will be that you will take care of things in the organisation too.
Wear appropriate jewellery: The jewellery that you wear needs to be suitable for a work place. You don’t want to wear huge dangling earrings that get in your way, for example. (This doesn’t mean you have to wear jewellery though!)
Dress and skirt lengths should be appropriate when sitting: Although there is some freedom in dress and skirts lengths, you want to make sure that when you are sitting your hemline isn’t too short. Your hemline always pulls up when you sit and you don’t want to show too much leg in an office space.
Trousers should be the right length and fit your shape: It may be fashionable to wear loose pants but this won’t look that good in the workspace. It isn’t a good idea to wear trousers that are very tight either. If trousers are too long they often get dirty or frayed at the bottom so you want them to be the right length too.
Hair needs to be neat: Hair styles vary for men and women. Usually, women’s hair can be any style but you need to make sure that it doesn’t get in your way. For men, it’s usual to have short, neat hair but this might not be important, depending on where you work. Before you colour your hair, think about the impression that colour will make and think about whether this is the impression you want to make.
Wear a button up shirt: This generally applies to men, however women should also think about whether it is suitable to wear a T-shirt or not. Of course, this is not set in stone. Perhaps the organisation is fine with you wearing T-shirts but it would be a good idea to find this out.
Wear appropriate shoes: Very casual shoes such as flip-flops may not be suitable for your workplace – you need to find out before you wear these. Often men need to wear closed shoes but women get to have more freedom in wearing sandals. Whatever you do choose to wear, make sure your shoes are clean (polish them if necessary) and that they aren’t too scuffed.
Wear clothing that works well for the beach, clubs and exercise sessions: Sportswear, shorts and snazzy clothes worn when you’re out partying are generally not suitable for the work place.
Wear a hat or cap: Be careful about wearing these items in the office as it is not normally acceptable. There may be cultural reasons why you need to wear a hat but it’s preferable that you only wear it outside.
Reveal too much chest, your back, your stomach or your underwear: The idea in the workplace is to not wear clothing that distracts from the job. You want to wear shirts that cover your stomach, back and chest. Underwear tends to show when trousers are too loose so be careful to wear trousers that fit properly.
Wear clothes that are torn, dirty, or frayed: Because you want to look as if you care about yourself (and your work place) it’s important that your clothes look their best.
Wear tight mini-skirts and spaghetti-strap tops: Mini-skirts reveal too much of your leg when you are sitting. Many work places don’t like spaghetti-strap tops because they are too revealing but this might not be a problem at your work place. Again, ask if you’re not sure.
Wear shirts with inoffensive words or inappropriate logos on them: Be especially careful of not wearing logos of companies that your new work place competes with! You will want to make a good impression so this wouldn’t happen if you wear T-shirts with inappropriate images or words on them.
Jackets don’t fall into the do or don’t list because this is something that varies so much from workplace to workplace. It is something you can find out from the organisation’s internet photos, from people you see at the workplace or you can ask when you are at the interview.
Once you become accustomed to your work position, and get to know the conventions, you may be able to ignore the rules above! But until you know, it’s best to dress a little bit smarter than you normally would at first. This will always give a good first impression, and also show that you take yourself and your work seriously.