First impressions matter, especially in the workplace. You may have the best work ethic and be the most efficient employee in the office, but people don’t see all of those things first. They see you. How you dress, how you smile, how you groom yourself. Even the things you carry with you. They see all of these and base their first impression on them, hence, these factors in your appearance play a significant role in how people approach you.
If you want to build an excellent professional image in the workplace and leave a great first impression on everyone you meet, here are some of the best strategies on how you can do that by improving your appearance:
1. Enhance your smile
The appearance of your teeth doesn’t matter much when it comes to doing a good job at work, but it can affect your self-esteem. If you have crooked or discolored teeth, you may be more reluctant to give your best smile to people. In turn, you may be missing out on giving the absolute best impression you can make on people—which mostly starts with a smile and handshake.
If you have crooked teeth, the best way to fix them is through braces. However, wearing braces as an adult can feel awkward. A great alternative to traditional braces is invisible braces that are made of clear material or braces that are fitted behind the teeth instead of the front. If you have stained, chipped, misshapen, or slightly crooked teeth, are often the quickest and easiest option. You may also get porcelain veneers to protect your other teeth from stains and damage while enhancing their appearance at the same time.
2. Update your wardrobe
You definitely don’t have to wear anything fancy to look more professional at work, but your fashion choices do matter when building a great image.
The key is to put together a simple yet sleek wardrobe that exudes professionalism without being too overbearing. Your clothes also have to be comfortable to allow you to focus on work instead of being distracted by the discomfort that your attire brings.
Start with the staples. For women, the must-haves in your wardrobe are a smart blazer, slacks, dress shirts, a simple black dress (or several), and trusty pairs of low-heeled shoes. For men, the basics include dress pants, dress shirts, a suit, and comfortable leather shoes.
Wearing simple yet smart-looking attire can make all the difference. You don’t have to have expensive clothes to look put together—it all boils down to how well your clothes fit you and how you carry yourself in them.
3. Pay attention to personal hygiene
Good grooming is a basic pillar of professionalism. If you walk into a board meeting with food between your teeth or your hair looking greasy, people may not take you seriously. The same goes if you overdo the grooming and reek of too much perfume or have hair gel basically dripping down your shoulders.
Everyone should know what good grooming entails. Shower every day, wear deodorant, brush and floss your teeth, fix your hair, and you should smell and look pleasant every day at work. If you must wear perfume or cologne, make sure that the smell is not overpowering. You wouldn’t want people to remember you by how garish your scent is.
4. Take care of your hair
Most modern workplaces don’t have strict guidelines when it comes to hairstyles. If you work in such an office, by all means, choose any hairstyle or hair color you’d like. However, when you work in a more conservative place, you may have to pick a “safe” hairstyle that won’t take up too much attention from what you’re wearing or saying.
Either way, basic hair care is a must when building a great professional image. Trim your hair regularly to get rid of split ends. Wash your hair every other day to prevent it from getting greasy. At the very least, comb your hair every morning to keep your appearance neat.
5. Use a briefcase or simple handbag
Avoid walking into a meeting with your belongings gathered up in your arms; doing so can make you look disorganized and distract people from your attire. Instead, carry your belongings in a sleek briefcase and handbag to keep them safe and organized. Remember—people not only take your appearance but also pay attention to what you’re carrying as well.
Building a professional image may seem like a lot of work, but it’s not that complicated once you start paying attention to the little things, be it your hair, your attire, or your smile. As you climb up the career ladder, these tips can help you set a standard for yourself—one that is focused on maintaining a great appearance at work.