Work it with your work wardrobe.
Find out how to get the best out of your 9 to 5
Often the new year brings about a time of reflection. And given that we spend most of our lives at work, it is often the thought of returning to work or more specifically, the dread of it, which can bring on thoughts of change.
Whether it’s chasing that well deserved promotion, a vow to network more and be more visible, or a feeling that it’s finally time to chase your dream role; the new year is the ideal time to make it happen.
With the first month of the year already coming to a close, now is the time to become your very own career planner. And make no mistake, your work wardrobe is part of this. The old adage of dressing for the job you want, not the job you have, still holds true. Even before you decide to make the move.
For career coach, Sharon Hughes, preparation is key. “You literally never know where your next job is going to come from, so you should always be ready. Statistically, you already met the person who will get you your next job, so even if your own company doesn’t require a strict dress policy, it’s great to always be prepared.
“Often if you are leaving an old job and starting a new one, there is very little time to prepare, having a couple of pre-chosen wardrobe staples, that reflect a more senior you, is a great foundation for your working wardrobe. Before you wear a new outfit to work, you should break it in at home and make sure it works for you. Trying out a “new you” outfit to work is the best way of making sure it’s comfortable in the long run and then getting yourself into the headspace of preparing for your next big role.”
Taking ownership of your personal brand and ensuring you are presenting yourself to the world in the way you want to be viewed is vital. Perception is key and the perception people hold of you, is a vital part of changing track.
“In your career, it’s more important than ever to consider your own brand; you are not just what you do, but you are how you do it. Start seeing yourself personally as a product, a unique blend of qualifications, experience and of course style. It’s estimated that people make first impressions within a few seconds of meeting you so first impressions are key,” says Sharon.
Making a change of significance can be daunting and for those about to take a career pivot, looking at your new work wardrobe can help you get on that journey with a sense of purpose. Career coaching is like someone being your very own cheerleader and when Sharon is cheering on her clients, she factors this into the equation. “Wardrobe is one of the first things I speak about with clients who are looking to change career or get promoted. It is one of the simplest ways of projecting yourself into a future role. It also shows your colleagues, particularly management, that you are ready for more.”
It is also a way to boost your confidence and present an image of you that you can be proud of when meeting decision makers and people who you believe will have an influence on your career. “We all know the difference in our attitude when we feel confident in how we look, and this is especially true for our work life. Your style is a huge part of your personal brand. After necessary qualifications, organisational fit is usually the most important factor to anyone hiring. Your personal brand is a big indicator of how you will get on with the team and so an interview panel will definitely pick up on that.”
And once in the door, it’s important not to let your standards slide. Presenting yourself in a certain way at the interview stage, only to then look like an entirely different person once you secure the position, does not go unnoticed. When an employer hires you, they are buying into something that you sold at the interview stage. The last thing you want is for them to start having buyers remorse about you.”