We all know that first impressions are very important, but the subject of one’s appearance in the workplace can be touchy. In recent years, there has been much uproar over prospective employers using a person’s physical appearance as reason to hire them – or not hire them, as the case may be. While the majority of jobs are based purely on skills and qualification, this isn’t to say that the way you present yourself isn’t important.
An individual’s appearance is full of small but significant indicators of what sort of a person they are, and how they live their life both in and out of work. Being able to pick up on a number of these indicators when looking at a person tells you that they not only care about how they are perceived by others, but that they are dedicated to looking and feeling their best. Here are some of the key indicators:
It’s as much about the clothes as it is about their maintenance. If you don’t feel like you have a personal ‘style’, take a day to go shopping, try things on and see what look you feel expresses you as a person. Of course, make sure that any clothing you do buy is suitable to your workplace while being personal to you. Once you have your wardrobe, it is important to look after it. Iron it and hang it properly to prevent creasing, follow wash label instructions to keep garments in top condition, and ensure anything you wear is clean.
Whether or not you are in the habit of dressing up your nails with polish, it is important to keep them looking neat and tidy. A regular clipping or filing to keep them at a consistent length, and if you require one, a nail brush to prevent any dirt under the nails, are essential to presentable nails. If you are a nail-biter, take steps to break this habit, as it is very obvious to look at, and a person chewing on their fingers is not a pretty – or professional – sight.
Teeth are much harder than nails and clothing to keep looking good, as we can’t help it if they are gappy or crooked. However, no matter the shape of teeth, it is easy to tell whether or not they are well looked after, so make sure to brush and floss twice a day, and to chew gum after meals to keep your teeth clean and breath fresh. If you feel particularly self-conscious about your teeth, you may choose to seek the treatment of a dental professional, who will be able to assess your needs and ensure you get the best results.
When it comes to what you do with it, hair is a fairly individual feature, and most people like to dress it up. Again, the style isn’t really the issue, but more the overall maintenance of it. If you colour your hair, make sure to touch up your roots frequently and make sure a neat and consistent job is done all over. Meanwhile, long hair should be brushed and neat, and all hair should be clean and generally well presented. If you are prone to greasy hair or dandruff, you may need to wash it more frequently to keep you looking your best at work.
Appearance at work is not about getting a full-body makeover from a plastic surgeon – anybody is good enough for the workplace as they are, as long as the way they present themselves shows signs of effort and thought. That is really what people are looking for – effort and acknowledgement of the impressions made from physical appearance.