Dress For The Job You Want

InterviewOver the past month I have been doing a lot of interviews to fill a part time position at the store. I am very disheartened in how the public simply does not care about how they present themselves. I am saying this in the most broad sense of the phrase. People in general do not care about anything, things in life have less value. We raise our children to be strong, stand up to bullies – by not caring. To wear whatever we chose – by not caring. To use our right to free speech – by not caring.

As a population, young and old, we no longer care about anything. I could go on for days discussing the social fall of humanity, point fingers at television or bad parenting, or simply blame those with more money than I do for not being fair. In this case, women of any age delivering resumes both hand written and typed into the store as has been the norm for generations, but in yoga pants. They show up looking like they rolled out of bed, as if they didn’t mean to go out in public they were simply doing their laundry at home…

I frequently hear its the latter generation which infuriates me because its simply not true. Every day we hear seniors saying “I just don’t dress up any more.” I see teenagers all over town no matter what they are doing in crocs, sweatpants full of rips, belly rolls hanging over their pants, sloppy bun of hair on the top of their head to match their fluorescent hoodies. But you know what? I see their moms in a very similar get-up. Often we have to explain to women that want to consign their business suits that they “just aren’t wearing anymore” to which we have to say, “neither is anyone else.” Walk into the bank and see the tellers with painfully unattractive cleavage, extra rolls in their spandex tops with flip flops… What used to be the best dressed in town are now amongst the worst.

As these women drop off resumes they seem to forget that I am observant of what they are wearing to do so. When I receive an emailed resume my first step before even reading it is to find them on Facebook. How you present yourself to the world is key for any job that works directly with the public. Curious how many stores require a uniform? Its not surprising based on the things I’ve seen.

Never judge a book by its cover.

I can’t imagine you haven’t heard this English idiom. Essentially what it means is you should not prejudge the worth or value of something by its outward appearance alone, however, when the reputation of the business is lowered due to the “appearance” of its employees – the line needs to be drawn. When I interview a potential candidate for this relatively simple sales associate position, my first reaction is based on punctuality. My second thought is based on appearance. My third thought is based on personality (due to the nature of our small shop, personality is key to the team working well together.) My fourth thought is about the ability to do the job well. 

Unfortunately being the manager of an upscale store, I need to base my decisions somewhat on presentation, if the book’s cover looks like it was tossed into the road and run-over, odds are you’re not going to be overly impressed to read it. That may be an exaggeration, but you get the idea. My sister once said, dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If I want to be manager with a higher responsibility and authority, I need to dress like I have it together, under control and professional. If I showed up in ripped jeans and a wrinkled t-shirt, you can bet the customers won’t treat me with the same respect as they would if I was wearing dress pants and a fitted blazer.

What if you’re coming from a uniform job, maybe one that wears scrubs and sneakers on a daily basis. Think about it, did you go to your interview wearing scrubs and sneakers? Odds are I’m guessing you didn’t. Or I certainly hope you didn’t! Especially when discussing thrift, you cannot give the excuse that you don’t have any professional business wear. If you know you are a potential interview candidate, dress to impress! Its amazing to me how often I say this to potential candidates, in interviews and in the store to shoppers. The non-profit organization, Dress for Success, is very much what I am trying to communicate. It doesn’t cost a lot to pick up a professional outfit to show you are serious about this job opportunity.

I am living proof that you can have a well put together wardrobe on a very small budget. If you show up to an interview with me wearing yoga pants and a boring tshirt with no accessories – odds are I’m going to assume this job is just a job – not a great opportunity to work in the fashion industry. Ladies pull yourselves together, act the part and you’ll get the job!


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