Presentation at the workplace is everything, so much so that a survey proved clothing to have a major influence on promotion prospects. In fact, according to a 2013 analysis, about 80% of executive personnel believed employees’ dressing style to be a significant determining factor on their chances of a promotion- and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Upholding a professional image at the workplace is attributed to several factors, each playing a role in our work environment. From a general perspective, most of us typically form our first impressions on people from our initial meetings, and the work field is no different. Visual elements like attire, grooming and mannerism compel us into building a perception of the people around us. Ultimately, what we see dictates our communication, perception and interaction with the person in front of us.
Five ways to appear more professional at work
Although not exclusively, maintaining a professional image at work propels career development. When the executives, clients and co-workers remain impressed by what they see, they’re automatically inclined to take you seriously, consequently nurturing a sense of respect, credibility and professional trust around you. Let’s face it, you’re less likely to trust a lawyer that shows up to your hearing in sweatpants, and we’re not even judge-y (pun intended). Such is the power of professional appearance! That said, here’s our expert crack at looking professional in five steps.
Groom like your life depends on it.
It’s always the little things that make a difference. Start paying keen attention to your grooming routine, those little practices that lead to dress up go a long way. Press your work clothes every morning, trim your nails more regularly, get a fresh haircut cut every other week for a cleaned-out appearance. For the ladies, re-do your chipped manicure, get your highlights touched up now and then and embrace that simple natural makeup look for work. There’s no clear-cut formula grooming; only if it makes you look and feel better about yourself, then go for it.
Work your wardrobe
Sharp, sophisticated and simple; this should be your workwear cheat code. Ideally, most institutions have an acceptable dress code; all you have to do is personalize that handbook. Invest in timeless blazers, versatile pants, fitting suits and comfortable shirts that flatter your body type. You don’t have to limit yourself to the traditional office attire; explore your taste in different cuts and designs, say ditch the bulky skirt suit for a jumpsuit instead? Experts also advise dressing for the position you want. Eyeing the managerial seat? Dress the part.
Accessorize like a pro
A common misconception; accessories are unprofessional. Wrong. If anything, accessories make you stand out a little more; these little gems can take your office attire to the next level. The only thing to keep in mind is moderation; you don’t want to come off as overbearing. Our favorite tip with workplace accessorizing is going minimalistic; you’ll find there’s elegance in moderation. Invest in a few statement pieces that you can wear around the office and turn them into your signature items. You’d be surprised by how much a difference that pocket square would make to your bespoke suit.
Do solid colors
Fall in love with solid colors; these are your best friends at the workspace. Feature dark, soft and subtle tones in your office wear; trust us, you don’t want to be looking carnival-ready at an 8 A.M meeting. So maybe stick to the easy-on-the-eye colors to avoid distracting your teammates or looking misplaced. We discourage over-the-top prints and patterns for office spaces, but if you have to rock them, try washing them down with dark-colored pairings. Don’t get us wrong; we have nothing against bold souls; however, if you’re trying to look more authoritative and professional, solid colors are the way to go.
Power of confidence
The icing on the cake? Confidence. Confidence is one skill that’ll take the scrutiny off you while maintaining your competitive advantage. Exuding confidence in any work environment adds some professionalism points your way. Perhaps it’s time to straighten your shoulders when you walk, maintain eye contact, and adopt a professional voice when conversing; these should set you off to a good start. We’re also firm believers of faking it till you make it, so even on the days where you feel like you don’t have it together, act like you do. Scratch that, especially on the days where you’re not feeling it, go out there and own the world.
Professional workspaces can be challenging to maneuver with most institutions and organizations sporting tailored regulations. Despite the limitations, the work field maintains a critical requirement of professionalism. Whether you’re an IT specialist or a stock market trader, you’ll find that adherence to professionalism is mandatory even with the fast-changing work dynamic. The tips mentioned above equip you with standard professional image tips without breaking away from the traditional workplace fold. Take it all in, adopt one habit at a time and watch yourself flourish into a polished professional worker.