DRESS FOR THE JOB YOU WANT, NOT THE JOB YOU HAVE
Unless you are currently a utility worker and you want to become a geisha, there is wisdom in that advice. In general, it is intended for folks working in companies with layers of management. You know the ladder – Teamleader, Assistant Supervisor, Supervisor, Assistant Manager, Manager, etc. …… “Dress for the job you want,” simply means presenting yourself in ways that remind supervisors of themselves. Not surprisingly, when we hire – we tend to hire people with whom we feel a kinship. What better way than to mirror them in attire and action.
Now, for those of you who are feeling some sense of righteous outrage – I hear ya! We would all like to think that we wouldn’t be that manipulative – or be so easily manipulated. But the truth is that how we dress is ALWAYS about showing how we belong – about what groups we aspire to join. Would you wear a bathing suit to work? A t-shirt with obscenities? Of course not. We all know that group norms (or rules) matter – that showing connection and respect matter. Even the subtlest of details can have an effect, although most of the impact is subconscious. We think it doesn’t matter to us – but it does.
It goes without saying that, if you are entry level, you should not dress like the CEO. Nope. Think locally. Think about those in positions to screen and hire for your next job – not your ultimate job.