A girl dressed ready for business
Corporate Culture

Dressing for the Job You Want

Susan Hatten
Susan Hatten
Chief Marketing Officer

I have a personal branding vision board in my kitchen featuring images, photos, and quotes, which I believe make up my personal and professional brand. There are photos depicting travel, wine tastings, fitness, socializing with family and friends, and statement quotes that I love.

One of the statement quotes frames the adage “Dress for the Job You Want.” Given the turn of events as of late and the lack of in-person interaction, I began to wonder, is this an outdated philosophy?

In this new world of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, and fully virtual meetings and social outings, does the way you dress really have that much of an impact on your sense of impression to others? Even prior to the COVID-19 transformation, companies and corporations alike have embraced more casual work environments and the dress for your day mentality.

What I found amidst the pandemic world of virtual exposure is that by dressing up each day as if I were walking into a board meeting, I was more motivated, confident, and energized. I felt a sense of pride and could even feel that trickle down into my composure and demeanor as I led and contributed to meeting dialogue throughout the day.

This is what led to my belief that there is still relevance in adopting the mentality of dressing for the job you want. Why?

  • The way you dress is a representation of who you are. Why would you not want to offer the greatest experience for those you interact with — whether on a Zoom screen, in a board room setting, or coming and going from your daily activities?
  • Dressing well and with intention is an illustration of your professional and personal competence, aspiration, and mindfulness.
  • Dressing for the job you want means never settling and realizing that with each new day is a new opportunity for you to shine, learn, and grow.

As I write this, I also think fondly of my grandmothers…both of whom were always impeccably dressed, whether picking strawberries on the farm, running errands about town, or lounging about on a lazy summer Sunday afternoon. While my grandmothers were very different in terms of upbringing and personality, they both embraced their own version of “dressing for the life they lived and desired,” which was to be that of a proud wife, mother, coworker, co-farm hand, philanthropist, and community citizen.

If the doorbell would ring, they would rush to the mirror to reapply lipstick and rouge, always telling me that it was better to look respectable as you never know who may be on the other side of the door.

This statement offered to me as a young girl may very well be an analogy of dressing for the job you want. After all, you never know who may be on the other side of your Zoom call.

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