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May 01 2014
Dressing for Success
Melissa Mickelsen, CCE, Geneva Rock Products, Inc.

We've all heard the saying "You never get a second chance to make a first impression." This is especially true in the business world. Creating a positive first impression with a potential employer, customer, co-worker or business associate is critical. Before we can even say a word, a lasting impression is created that can potentially impact future interactions. We should work to ensure that those future interactions are influenced for good by a positive first impression. 

Proper business dress and grooming is often key to making a good first impression. Dress standards vary widely from industry to industry. But regardless of whether you're required to wear a shirt and tie or allowed to wear jeans, all clothing should be appropriate and in good repair. Clothing should be clean, neat and tidy, and wrinkle free. And clothing should fit properly.

Constantly fussing with clothing that doesn't fit right or that needs frequent adjusting detracts from the impression you're working to make. As a general rule, clothing should be conservative. Avoid anything that might be polarizing or cause offense. Avoid clothing that could be considered provocative, exposes too much skin or is too tight. You want people to be focused on what you're saying and not distracted by what you're wearing. 

Hair should be well groomed and appropriate for your business or industry. Make-up for women should also be appropriate. Become aware of your posture and body language, as these factors often speak volumes about confidence and self-image. And remember, a genuine smile and eye contact can contribute greatly to positive first impressions.

In addition, consider the message your dress and grooming sends about your company or industry. As an employee, you are a representative of your company. Your appearance should help create the correct impression for your business and should contribute positively to the overall impression your company is trying to make. 

Dressing professionally and appropriately can also boost confidence and help increase your personal presence. Feeling good about how you look can help you feel good about yourself.  When you're dressed appropriately, you don't have to worry about what others might be thinking or whether you're out of place. You're better able to focus your energy on the business at hand and put your best foot forward. 

While proper business dress and grooming may take a little more time and effort, it demonstrates that you have respect for yourself, your company, and your profession. It helps demonstrate that you know what you're doing. And, it shows that you're willing to make an investment in yourself and your career.