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You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The way you look says a lot about you. Those two familiar statements prove that everyone needs to realize the importance of dressing professionally.
A person can accept you or reject you in the first 30 seconds, based on appearance alone. Studies show inappropriate dressing or grooming causes 40 percent of job rejections. Gain an edge by dressing appropriately for the situation and making sure you are neatly groomed.
Whether you like it or not, you are judged based on your appearance. If you show up for an interview or an important meeting looking like you just rolled out of bed, then the person you are meeting with will likely see you as unprofessional, harming your chances of getting the job or making the sale.
Dressing professionally can make you feel better about yourself. Comfy sweats and T-shirts can create a relaxed, I-don't-care kind of attitude. When you dress up in a suit, you tend to stand straighter and project more confidence, which people will respond to positively.
Professional dress is not the same for every situation. Khaki's and a polo can be appropriate professional attire for a fast-food job interview, while nothing less than a three-piece suit will do for an interview at a law firm. A good rule of thumb for interviews: always dress one step above what employees at that business wear to work.
Not Just Clothes
Dressing professionally also includes grooming. Clean hair, face and hands, fresh breath and light, or no, perfumes or aftershaves create an important positive image to go along with your attire.
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Consequences for Bad Professional Appearance in the Workplace→
How to Carry Yourself Professionally at Work→
How to Conduct Yourself During an Interview→
What Attire Should a Woman Wear to a Job Interview?→
Sandi Kelly Showalter became a professional freelance writer in 2008, in addition to her role as an entrepreneur. Her articles have appeared for Future Business Leaders of America and in such places as "Pipeline" and the websites EyeOnSoaps and BetterRVing. Showalter received her Bachelor of Arts in mass communications from the University of South Florida.