Why You Should Dress for the Career You Want

Great Careers Start Here

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Have you ever heard that you should dress for the job you want, not necessarily the one you have? That’s because you should always have aspirations. If you want to be a manager someday, dress like one now. This idea holds true whether you are a student or already in your career.

Unless you are the next Mark Zuckerberg, dressing for the job you want probably doesn’t mean you wear jeans and hoodies. Instead, it means that your appearance should subtly mimic how managers or executives at your job look. It means that you avoid clothing that’s “too” anything — tight, short, baggy, holey. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t dress in a way that’s inappropriate for your current job; just step it up a bit where it makes sense. This might mean that you wear dress pants instead of casual pants or button-down shirts instead of polos or T-shirts.

Once you know what it means to dress for the career you want, here’s why you should do it.

It Shows Supervisors That You Take Your Career Seriously

When you always dress with care, it shows your bosses that you are professional. Even if you have a hands-on job, avoid jeans and hoodies. There’s a way to dress casually, but professionally, even if you’re an IT or HVAC technician. Clearly, you’re not wearing a suit in either of those professions, but you can wear clean work pants, a belt, and a button-down shirt.

Your attire can help you stand out above your co-workers in a way that lets your supervisors know they can rely on you for a great first impression for clients or vendors. That can make it more likely that they’ll give you opportunities to be involved with those people and organizations. It can also make it easier for them to visualize you in the position that you dress for — which might mean a promotion.

It Gives Co-Workers Confidence in You

When you dress like a supervisor, or someone in a higher position than what yours is, it also makes it more likely that your co-workers or classmates will see you that way too. They will be more likely to view you as a leader and someone they can depend upon and learn from. That perception could help you land leadership opportunities that ultimately will help you grow in your career and gain new opportunities, like an externship or a promotion.

It Gives You Motivation and Confidence in Yourself

The most important of all perceptions might be what you think of yourself. Just like it can be easier for others to see you as a leader if you dress the part, it can also help your own brain make that leap. You might be tired and want to wear comfy pants and a T-shirt to class, but studies show that when you dress super casually like that, it can affect self-perception of what you’re capable of. If you dress more professionally, it’ll be easier for you to be motivated and see yourself in the role of your dreams.

When you enroll at Charter College, we’ll support you in your education and as you improve or launch your career. Check out the Career Services Office to learn more about what we offer all our students. Are you ready to change your life? We’re ready to help!