Can Improving Your Appearance Advance Your Career?

Nancy Anderson
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Whoever said "looks don't matter" never showed up to a job interview wearing a wrinkled dress shirt and stained tie while sporting this morning's bedhead. Whether you're just starting out on the job hunt or already landed a great position, find out how you can improve your appearance to advance your career.

Choose the Right Clothes

Opt for office-appropriate attire to boost your confidence and productivity. Top a collared shirt with a suit jacket and dress pants or business skirt for the ladies. Choose a pair of professional shoes, and make sure they're clean and polished. Heels or thick-soled shoes add some height, thus improving your appearance.

Add Polish With Accessories

A few well-chosen accessories take your professional style to the next level. Choose an understated watch, and carry a sturdy briefcase to keep your important documents organized. Make sure jewelry is not too flashy to keep your appearance on the conservative side.

Practice Proper Grooming

A professional appearance requires proper grooming. Make sure your hair is clean, neatly combed and trimmed regularly. Men should be freshly shaven or keep facial hair neatly groomed. Keep your fingernails clean, use perfumes or colognes sparingly, and don't go overboard with the makeup. Always have clean teeth and fresh breath. If possible, cover any tattoos and remove body piercings. Arrive to work or for an interview freshly showered, and remember the importance of deodorant.

Improve Your Body Language

Practicing better body language can improve your appearance in the eyes of your co-workers, clients and others you encounter. Stand tall, as an improved posture lets others see you as a leader. Keep your body language open and approachable; don't cross your legs, fold your arms across your chest or sit with your shoulders hunched.

Always Wear a Smile

Whether you're meeting the hiring manager for a job interview, introducing yourself to a new client or chatting it up with a co-worker in the break room, keep a warm, sincere smile on your face to improve your appearance. Use eye contact as you talk, and practice a firm handshake. Keep your interactions professional yet friendly.

Consider the Cleanliness of Your Cubicle

In addition to your physical appearance, the condition of your workstation also reflects on your professional image. If your desk is messy and disorganized, others who pass by assume your work habits are equally as poor. Keep your desktop free of clutter by tucking away items that you don't use often.

When you look good, it reflects in the way you carry yourself and interact with others. Dressing professionally makes you act professionally, improving relations with clients, co-workers and superiors. Command the respect you deserve in your career by putting some extra effort into your appearance.

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