Dress Your Way to a Career

From the desk of Skoller’s COO & Co-Founder, Logan Matthews:

After multiple emails,  phone calls, and interviews, you've finally landed the perfect internship. It fits your professional goals, the people are nice and welcoming, and you're even earning a little beer money. Your first day comes around, and the obvious question is, what do I wear?

This is an important question with a not so obvious answer.

Clothes communicate the type of work a person does and their position within the company. Research has shown that clothes can even influence others' views of that person.

You should consider a couple of things when deciding what threads to sport on that first day.

1. What image does the company project?

A law firm or government agency projects authority. The clothes those employees wear will reflect this attitude by their stuffy, business formal suits and ties. Meanwhile, a digital marketing firm or a dynamic, super-cool tech startup like Skoller is likely to have a casual dress code. The employees' creativity and the laid-back company culture will be evident in the official uniform of jeans and a t-shirt.

Most likely, you'll have a pretty good idea of the company culture from your research and interviews. However, if you're unsure, you can simply ask your hiring manager what is expected so that you can put together the appropriate outfit.

2. What image do you want to project to the company and your colleagues?

It's often said, "dress for the job you want, not the job you have." I take this to mean dress above what is expected but not so much so that you look out of place i.e. don't wear a tux to work!

During my first internship at a government agency, I wore a jacket and tie every day. My supervisor noted in his review that I consistently had a professional appearance. I dressed above what is expected of an intern while fitting in among the higher-ranking officials.  Because my commitment to professional attire, I was able to sit in on important meetings and be taken seriously by those attending.

The main takeaway: clothes shouldn't be an afterthought. Figure out what the dress code is at your new place and then work within it to stand-out and to be taken seriously by those you work with. You may just dress yourself into a career!

LifeLexie McCarty