Many of us swear by the saying, “First impression is the last impression.” MBA graduates who are gearing to make their foray into the corporate world may have the relevant qualifications and degrees coupled with the right talent to make it big in the industry. Nothing can replace hard work, innate ability and ambition but looking professional best in the workplace can give everyone a competitive advantage.
Nowadays everyone is increasingly giving attention to how they dress at work because what one wears may be substantially influencing their career path. This also reflects whether you have the right image or professional attitude to create the first impression.
Your attire or dressing sense speaks volume about how you present yourself. It reflects a lot about your personality and your company once you are hired. A positive first impression opens the door to new and exciting opportunities and is an important factor in building your image.
With the increasing competitive pressures in the corporate and business world companies are now adhering to the ‘we look good, if you look good’ policy. For this make sure that you know exactly what to do as you and your company have only one chance to make an impactful first impression.
Though the cutting-edge technology may have given the corporate sector a great impetus in terms of efficiency but maintaining a professional decorum and environment in the office is of utmost importance to ensure concentration and efficiency of employees. The working atmosphere of the office is the only reason why people continue to go to workplace to finish their work and not do it from their home.
A very central aspect of professional etiquette is the attire and presentation of employees which goes a long way in enhancing the image of the company. Dressing immaculately not only has benefits for an individual and his company but is directly proportional for creating impressions on clients. A well-dressed and disciplined team inspires assurance among customers.
Companies have now begun to act as a wirepuller to ensure that their employees take special care to dress them and maintain a professional demeanour during office hours. Corporate clothing should inspire confidence among employees, clients and business. For this, many companies have resorted to ‘power-dressing sessions’.
Power dressing does not mean wearing expensive clothing. Nor does it mean being someone you’re not. It simply means dressing in a way that projects an image of the sophisticated, authoritative and competent employee, especially in professional settings. A power dresser has to be sharp in dressing and should carry it with panache. It is about form-fitted clothes that flaunt your body structure thus enhancing your image.
The 1970s books ‘Dress for Success’ and ‘The Women's Dress for Success Book‘ popularized the concept of "power dressing." This term has been used since the late 1970s and reflected the style heavily influenced by influential women who were in the news at the time, for example the UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the Princess of Wales.
Power dressing conveys confidence and professionalism. With the curve of power dressing getting bigger the concept had a ‘trickle-down’ effect across all levels in the corporate hierarchy. After all, one has to appear sleek and crisp to exude that aura of influence to be taken seriously not just in a board meeting or at a power point presentation, but also outside his work domain. Nowadays it’s not just CEOs but mid-level executives who are toeing the line to be a power dresser.
Proper dress code for employees gives the management an efficient and reliable look. It reflects and validates the credentials and culture of the organization during official meetings and is a testament for the company as well. It leads to your company’s recognition in an around that place and you hold respect in the eyes of other companies. Most importantly, it brings uniformity on the floor, regulation and professional spirit.
Similarly while going for an important job interview if you are undecided about the company's culture, the best way is to play it safe. Look strictly professional. Your attire should send a message that you are a perfect fit for the working environment. During an interview the visual appearance forms an important component of the first impression of the interviewee. Superiors tend to create an image about the credibility and potential of the employee by his dressing sense.
If you don’t look smart your work will be prejudiced as sloppy and imperfect. If you still find it hard to believe a reality check can be done by dressing shabbily and coming to office. Not only you will feel low but your mind will be distracted, while on the other hand even if you are depressed but dressed smartly you will feel charged and confident.
Though ‘looking perfect at all times’ culture has taken the hold of the world, the benefits of image development won’t percolate down to your boss or clients but to you only. Having a right professional attitude enhances an employee’s confidence, professional spirit, work ethics and attitude. It avoids unnecessary distractions and inspires one towards career growth.
Having given the lessons on how to develop your image it is now pertinent to understand how to create optimum working environment in the office:
- Go for decent semi-formal/formal dressing that neither attracts nor distracts attention.
- Don’t indulge in listening to songs and fiddling with your iPods as it often leads to committing of errors and glitches.
- Lunch hours should not turn into picnics. Offices should be strictly considered as a place to learn and build a career.
- While working go for small breaks but keep it limited.
To conclude, image development @ power dressing is all about exuding an air of assertiveness and competence. One should have the attitude to look smart and dress smart. One should be keen to learn the skills needed to be competent professionals and to project that professional image. This will hone your business and social skills so that you can project yourself as a winner. Dress for success, not to impress.
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