Starting this year, Illinois State University initiated a classroom dress code for students in marketing classes. Students taking marketing classes will no longer be able to roll out of bed, throw on whatever they feel like, and head off to class. Business casual is the new rule. According to the school, the policy is to promote professional conduct and prepare students for life after college.
As of this writing, some students are fighting it. They claim it violates their rights according to the school constitution, so this rule may not last.
Without getting into whether the dress code is legal or not, I think students should be aware their personal appearance affects more than just their grade. Attractive students may not get more attention and higher evaluations from their teachers, but the way in which they present themselves could affect their ability to get a job and/or better pay. Studies have shown the more attractive you are, the more preference you are shown, and the more money you make.
One of the ways to get a raise and/or make more money is to present yourself as attractively and professionally as possible. How many times have you noticed coworkers wearing questionable attire? I have seen my share.
In job interviews, personal packaging is critical. Sometimes a job may come down to two qualified candidates. A good professional appearance can help give an applicant the edge over the competition.
Though we are not all gifted with good looks, we can make an effort to look our best to take advantage of this bias:
- Wear clean, wrinkle-free clothes. Your clothes do not have to be designer or new, but if your clothes look old and worn, so will you.
- Dress for the occasion. Make sure you wear appropriate clothing. There is a big difference between going to a board meeting and a company cookout. In addition, you may want to play it safe and overdress a little. The attention you draw will be more positive compared to being under-dressed.
- Be extremely clean. Good personal hygiene is necessary for a good impression.
Smell nice. While perfumes and colognes can help, go easy. A little goes a long way. Better yet, do not use any, but make sure you are odor free.
- Use some “bling” Nice jewelry and other accessories can be positive eye catchers.
- Bone up on fashion. If you are unsure of what is acceptable in the latest fashions, check out books and magazines for fashion ideas. Moreover, always make sure you follow the appropriate dress code for your workplace.
- Make note of what people notice. If someone compliments you, make note of it so you know what is working for you and what is not.
Bias towards more attractive people may not be fair, but it is a reality. Your personal packaging is another asset you need to use to the best of your ability to get the most out of your career and your life.
Image courtesy of wikipedia