The title of this blog posting is the best advice I ever got when entering the work force. Sure, there are times when you can’t, such as when you are forced to wear a uniform (or a “costume,” as they told us at WDW), but I have followed my own advice for 12 1/2 years.
When I was teaching at a small community college, I always wore a suit jacket and skirt or dress pants. My colleagues frequently attired themselves in shorts, T-shirts, and sneakers. I now teach for a major university, while they are still employed at the community college. I always dressed up; this lead to my not having any behavior problems with my students, in comparison to my co-workers, who did. I called my students “ladies” and “gentlemen” and expected them to behave that way. They did.
So, how do you get ready for that all-important first job after college? Buy quality clothing that will last for years (instead of the cheap stuff that will wear out quickly). It’s better to own two really good, high-quality blazers (black and navy, never brown) and some mix and match pants or skirts with quality shirts. You may not have a very big wardrobe, but it should be good quality.
For jewelry, keep it simple. A nice watch, maybe a bracelet (if you are female), tasteful stud earrings (save your glitz for after-hours), and a nice necklace and pair of leather shoes (shine them). Do not go fancy, unless you are in the clothing industry.
Fingernails should be tastefully polished, if you are a nail polish person. (Sorry folks- this is not the time to have all of the Dwarfs painted on your nails, with Snow White on your thumbs!) Remember, you may be taking an entry-level job, but that doesn’t mean you want to stay there!
Study and learn from everyone and keep yourself looking like you belong in the board room, instead of the food court.
Do you have any specific questions about dressing for the job you want? If so, just post a comment and I will answer.