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Monday
Jul092018

Dress for Success: The Importance of a Professional Appearance

Dress for success.

You've undoubtedly seen the phrase before. It means you should model your appearance after your goals in life and your career. Yet, many people fall short when it comes to dressing for success because they only think it applies to a few occasions, such as interviewing for a job. While it's true that attractiveness plays a big role in securing a job (in fact, there's a 72.3% chance an "attractive" person gets a callback after an interview), you should dress for success in every aspect of your professional life.

If you're not convinced that how you dress affects how you perform professionally, here are a few things to help change your mind.

Helps with customer interactions

You wouldn't want your dentist to wear sweatpants and a graphic t-shirt while they drill into your tooth, nor would you want your financial adviser wearing flip flops and sweatshirt. When it comes to professionalism, people want to work with someone who looks professional. It makes them feel as though they're working with someone they can trust to do a good job. The same should apply to you and your work, whatever that may be.

Exemplifies organization

If you look like you've put the time and effort into your appearance every morning, that will translate into your work life as well. You'll find that other things you do will tend to be more organized to reflect your appearance and coworkers and employees will take the hint as well. A clean and professional appearance will turn into a clean and professional office or work space, which will in turn will help you do business.

Builds positive reputation

Your appearance has a direct effect on your professional reputation. If your appearance isn't suited for your job, then people will be reluctant to recommend you even if you're the best in your field. It's an unfortunate truth of society that you're not judged solely on your qualifications and performance, and that your appearance has a lot to do with what people think. In the business world, what people think matters.

Boosts confidence

Lastly, having a professional appearance can help give you a confidence boost. It's no secret that feeling good about the way you look means you feel good about yourself, and that can be a powerful thing in business. People respond well to those with confidence and are more willing to do business with someone who seems like they can get the job done under any circumstance.

Employee productivity has moved slowly in recent years, with only a 0.3% increase per year from 2011 to 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you're gunning for that promotion or trying to build your business, that number isn't going to cut it. Improving your appearance could be your first step in the right direction.

If you're starting to see the big picture here, but aren't sure where to start, here are a few tips.

Break these habits

Too often do you hear someone blame their genetics for how they look, when in reality it is almost always due to their bad habits. If you want to start feeling good and looking good, you'll need to cut these bad habits out of the picture.

  • Eating junk food/fast food: Even the healthiest of people enjoy a good burger now and then, but a trip to the drive-thru every day for lunch will have some serious consequences on your body. Not only will it make staying at a healthy weight difficult, but your skin will suffer as well.
  • Heavy drinking: You don't have to quit drinking completely, just don't do it all in one night or on a weekly basis. Everything in moderation, especially the booze.
  • Smoking: Again, no surprise here. If you're a smoker, it's time to give it up. Smoking changes the color of your skin and nails, gives you perpetually bad breath, stains your teeth, and much more. So put the cigarette away and join the estimated 39.09 million Americans who used tooth whiteners in 2017. A good smile is key to good business.

 

Once these habits are broken for good, you're already making some serious positive changes to your appearance.

 

Your next steps to improving your appearance are much simpler (and a lot easier), including a wardrobe upgrade and a fresh hair cut. However, since balding is an unfortunate yet common issue many men deal with, you might have to think of something else. Almost 50% of a man's head of hair will disappear before it's actually cosmetically visible, so if that sounds like you, then you might need to embrace the bald or think of something else. Your hair is an important feature of your appearance, no matter your gender, so it's important to take care of it.

Don't let your appearance be why you didn't hit your monthly sales quota, get that promotion, or expand your business. Making a few changes now could have meaningful impacts to your life and career down the road.

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