News & Blog

Can you dress to progress?

  • November 17, 2015


The HR Operations team discuss whether you can dress for success and make a real impact on your HR career.
When we asked in our LinkedIn Group what was the best of career advice you’d ever been given, one of our members said, “Dress for the job you want!”  This got the HR Operations team thinking; just how much of an impact does the way we dress have on a career?

"You judge a man by his shoes"

It’s a very old saying, but it’s a fact that many of us do just that.  The concept that the way you dress makes a statement about you is well entrenched in all cultures, and this transfers into the working world.  When thinking about dress and work, the first thing that springs to mind is the interview.  Obviously when you attend a job interview you are dressing to impress.  It doesn’t matter what level of seniority you have, either as an HR Admin or an HR Director you should be going in looking as smart and professional as possible.  Whether you’re a professional either at the start of your career path, or journeying along it, the way you dress is equally important.

What about after you’ve got the job though?  What then?  The first thing to remember is that as an HR professional you should embody your department’s policies.  If the dress code is smart, then you must make the effort to comply.  This doesn’t mean buying very expensive suits, but rather ensuring that you have a neat and tidy capsule wardrobe that is classic in style rather than always trying to keep up with the latest trends which inevitably makes it more expensive.  In doing so, you will show that you take the company; it’s policies and your role in HR seriously.  It also has the added benefit of making you feel confident, and if you feel more confident then your behaviour should follow suit.

Many businesses have a more relaxed dress code, some permitting jeans and trainers, and this type of dress style makes it more difficult to dress to impress.  You want to follow and embody the guidelines, but it’s also the case that dressing in a smarter, more formal manner will encourage others to take you more seriously and ultimately aid in progressing your career.

Our top tips for dressing for success:

  1. In a casual environment, keep it smart within the boundaries; think about teaming smart jeans, shoes and a jacket to help you present a more formal and professional image.
  2. Think classic rather than trendy.  Trends change so quickly and many are very difficult to pull off in the workplace.  It’s more cost effective to have a classic capsule wardrobe that you intersperse with “on trend” elements.
  3. Embody your department’s policies.  You are the face of the HR team, if you are expecting all staff to abide by the Company policies make sure you lead by example.