For this week, I want to share useful tips for entry-level workers on how to approach workplace attire and professional dress codes. Whether you are just entering the workforce or beginning to seek leadership development and growth in your current position, workplace attire is one foundational element to your success.
What is the best way to learn about workplace attire?
Ask your boss.
Although this may seem intimidating at first, this will not only set you apart as an outstanding professional, but it will also allow you to better understand yourself and your professional goals.
Here are a few important reasons to start talking with your boss about workplace attire:
- Credibility: like it or not, your credibility is dependent, in part, on the way you dress. From the moment you show up to an interview to the moment you are considered for a promotion, the way you package yourself communicates to your supervisors and peers who you are and where you are going.
- Partnership with Management: oftentimes, young people are afraid to ask questions. But the more you inquire and are interested in making a good impression and succeeding at your job, the better relationship you will have with your boss. Communicating your interest in learning company protocols speaks volumes about your commitment to your company and job development. Additionally, your ability to ask questions and communicate with your boss on important issues is a good meter of how well you understand and reflect the company culture of which you are a part.
- Learning Through Observation: your household, parental attitudes, and social media messaging play a major part in how you or your peers feel and approach many issues, not the least of which is workplace attire. It is important to understand that these sources of messaging are going to either positively or negatively influence your attitudes toward corporate cultures. Although this information can be useful, it is more important to learn and observe from your direct environment rather than solely accepting what others are telling you. It is important to be able to blend both corporate protocols along with your personal views.
- Personal Career Brand: by talking to your boss about workplace protocols you are better able to align your professional goals/brand, and what you want for yourself, with how others perceive you. How you dress for work is a great way to communicate your professional goals in an ongoing way, reminding everyone around you of where you would like to be within the team and organization.
In summary, honest conversations with your boss about company protocols can help you:
- Learn how to align your goals with the reality of your environment, opportunities and people that can help you achieve them.
- Better understand where you where you are, and where you want to go in your career. If you don’t know what the required protocols are for your company how can you go above and beyond them to stand out?