The classic career tips of "dress for the job you want" or "dress for success" have been around for ages -- probably for as long as the concept of a career itself. But what does this advice really mean in our modern work world of casual Fridays and increasingly popular dressed down dress codes?
Presentation is key
Even if your outfit is "only" going to appear in a Zoom meeting, the way you present yourself to your fellow employees, and more importantly your employer and/or clients, remains crucial. The way you dress, whether you choose to be aware of it or not, speaks volumes to others. You want to dress in a way that ensures you are taken seriously and seen as valuable.
Read the (Zoom) room
Whether you are working from home or are physically in the office, it's important to read the room. If your work culture leans more towards the shorts and t-shirt side, showing up in a power suit may not do you any favours. You don't want to look like you are trying too hard. Aim to be respectful of yourself and others in order to be properly heard. It's important to be cognizant of what your particular workplace considers professional and dress accordingly.
Once you have a handle on your specific work culture, and you are aware of what kind of dress code is appropriate, you should still consider how well you are pulling that off. Your shirt may be entirely appropriate, but if it is wrinkled and your hair is a mess it can show a lack of personal, as well as professional, pride. A stain on your shirt can put a stain on your reputation.
The infinite interview
The fact is every day at work is a kind of job interview. A simple and effective trick to put yourself in the proper mindset for this reality is to think about how you would dress for the final job interview. The one with the big boss. You've experienced the office culture, taken note of the tone of the room, now it's time to take it up to the limit without going over the top and tumbling overboard. You never get a second chance to make a great first impression, but you get a chance every single day to be impressive.
We hope that these tips for how to dress for the job you want help make an impression on you and those you work with.