Appearance can make or break an applicant. Many students may have no idea what appropriate attire or business attire means.

“If you’re not dressed professionally, that’s just one more hurdle you’ll have to overcome. employers notice details; some complain about wrinkled ties, scuffed shoes, or inappropriate jewelry,” says Katharine S. Brooks, executive director of the Office of Personal and Career Development at Wake Forest University.

The goal is to NOT be noticed due to your attire – and in order to do that you want to give the impression of understanding of what the employer/ recruiter is looking for in an employee.

Always err on the side of conservatism. Even if you know the company has a casual dress code, you still need to make an impression – a clean, well-kept impression.

Good hygiene is a must. Brush your teeth before you head out the door, and make sure your clothes are clean. Dirty fingernails, baseball hats, too much make up or plunging necklines are never appropriate.

For financial services and law firms, more formal business attire is required. For more creative fields such as arts and IT, less formal attire is appropriate.

Dress like you will be sitting down with the President of the company!

Appearance is Everything What The Heck Does ‘Business Attire’ Really Mean

The gap between employers expectations and job seekers expectations is huge! It is extremely difficult to understand what is required by employers.

It is well known and understood that MANY people who enter the workforce are lacking in the area of ‘soft skills’, although they have obtained training and certification in ‘specific job skills’. Soft Skills include Proper Business Etiquette, Grooming and Personal Behaviour among other skills. Interviewers and HR departments get too many applicants for jobs and knowing that First Impressions are used as a screening device, SAY is looking at offering a series of articles on the “soft skills” with specific emphasis on appearance. These soft skills are rarely taught in institutions of higher-learning and rarely at the high school level.

Starting in high school and ending on the job, readers will be provided with examples of appropriate choices regarding clothes, general appearance and appropriate behaviour during all stages of education and job search, with the goal of successfully obtaining a job in a field of their choice.