Like it or not, the personal package you present to the world–your dress, your demeanor, the appearance of your workplace, even your personal hygiene–is a critical factor in determining your career success.
This fact of life, encountered at every step along your career path, is more important than ever in a troubled economy.
Dress To Achieve Your Career Goals
A survey by Robert Half International’s Office Team Division, shows 93 percent of executives believe a worker’s style of dress influences his or her chances of getting a promotion.
This means dressing according to the prevailing style among one’s co-workers and the environment in which your employer or potential employer operates. There may not be an “official dress code,” but you can bet there is an “unofficial one”. Observe it and be guided accordingly. Ignore it and jeopardize your chances for gaining the career rewards you desire.
If the style is business attire, don’t buck the system and show up in jeans and running shoes. The reverse is true. If the style is casual, go for it; but don’t wear flip-flops, ragged jeans and an outrageous T-shirt.
Steve Jobs can get by wearing a pair of jeans, sans belt, and a turtleneck sweater for all occasions, but chances are you can’t.
Don’t go overboard with accessories. Get rid of body piercings other than modest earrings for women only. Camouflage tattoos. Go with a hairstyle that is appropriate to the work environment. A Mohawk might be acceptable in a creative boutique, but it won’t fly in a firm specializing in corporate law.
Clothes should be pressed, free of lint, with all buttons in place. Shoes should be shined; no run-down heels.
Mind Your Manners On Your Career Path
Treat everyone from the mail room to the corner office with the respect and dignity they deserve. Good morning, thank you, please and good night are always in order. Be polite, friendly and helpful. Treat others as you want to be treated.
Avoid nasty, sexist, profane language. Avoid destructive gossip and criticism.
Be aware that your table manners telegraph a strong message about you whether you are eating in the employee lunchroom, at your desk or at an up-scale restaurant with your boss.
Clean Up Your Workplace
Nothing says more about you than the state of your workplace. Keep it neat and well organized so that it facilitates your work and communicates that you are all about business. Keep personal things to a minimum. You want to project the idea that you are serious about your job, but that you have a well-rounded life.
Mind Your Personal Hygiene
Shower or bathe regularly. Use perfume or cologne sparingly or not at all. Less is more with makeup. Make sure your hair is well groomed; and that nails and hands are always clean.
That’s The Way It Is On The Career Path
You may feel this career advice is intruding your personal turf. By the way, a survey showed that a mere 4 percent of Gen Y workers want to wear business attire. That’s okay. It’s your choice, but be mindful of the fact that it reflects the reality of what it takes to get a job and hold it in today’s environment.