Think your appearance and your act don't affect your employment? Think again, lady. While your job skills and abilities are most important to your work, your grooming and attitude also represent your company and your professionalism. Not only could you blow an interview by disregarding these factors, but you could also risk losing your job. Use sound judgment when it comes to dress, grooming, speech, and actions in and out of the workplace.
In the Interview
It goes without saying that appearance and behavior are important features of your job interview. Count the entire experience as the interview, from the minute you enter the front door until you leave. Wear a professional outfit such as a business suit or slacks and a tailored blouse. Carry your resume and in matching briefcase, and say "thank you" to everyone you meet with at the company. According to Career Services at Virginia Tech, err on the side of conservative attire, arrive on time, and make sure you pronounce the interviewers name correctly. Use your best manners and most polite greetings when talking with everyone in the office, even when you speak to a receptionist or intern at the office. These small details could make or break your impression.
Appearance at Work
Once you've landed a job, you have to work to keep it. This means not only performing well at your job, but also looking the part and behaving like a professional team player. Looking the part means dressing in accordance with your workplace culture and policies, and taking care with your grooming appropriately. For example, wear your hair in a neat style, and keep your fingernails clean and groomed. And think twice before ordering that extra garlic on your pizza for lunch. According to Columbus Technical College, you should also be aware of foods that can present strong odors, such as garlic, coffee, tobacco, or alcohol. One whiff of your dragon breath could leave a terrible impression on a boss you'd like to impress. Keep a toothbrush in your desk for post-lunch brushing, and stock up on breath mints.
Behavior During Work Hours
According to the "Forbes" article "5 Ways to Get Promoted in 2013," displaying an attractive attitude can go a long way in landing you the promotion you want. This means expressing positive ideas and demonstrating strong character by helping and encouraging others. It also means striving for leadership rather than simply doing your own job. Show empathy to others to earn their trust. Leaders are likely to identify other leaders from the pack, so consider yourself "onstage" at all times. You can check your social media and text messages once you're off the clock. Dedicate work hours to job performance and support for your coworkers.
Outside the Office
Even after work, your behavior and appearance can affect your job. You may run into coworkers or clients in social settings such as bars, movie theaters, and restaurants. Your impression there is not isolated from your impressions during work hours, so maintain decorum. Know your limits with cocktails, and don't dress in any way that you wouldn't want to be seen by the important people in your life and career. You just never know who you'll bump into on girls' night out or at that sports game.
Jan Archer holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a master's degree in creative writing. Roth has written trade books for Books-a-Million and has published articles on green living, wellness and education topics. She taught business writing, literature, creative writing and English composition at the college level for five years.