Looking the part

Siobhan Thompson writes on Twitter:

This is something I’ve been aware of for a long time. Last time I found myself unemployed in a new city, I went and spent time sitting outside some offices when everyone went to get lunch. I made notes about what people wore — and then I went and bought some of the same type of clothes to wear when being interviewed.

As the saying goes, dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Generally good advice, but tricky if you want a job as a sports mascot, astronaut or stunt cock.

It doesn’t end once you get the job, either. I’ve known web developers to be viewed with suspicion because they habitually wore a suit with shirt and tie, and a friend once commented that I was the only Unix guy she knew who wasn’t overweight with a ponytail.

One thought on “Looking the part

  1. What works for this, and many other employer irrationalities, is a tight labor market. Nothing says “put aside your biases” like losing money if you don’t. I have dressed in ways that appeared odd to others, and it might have caused me to have trouble getting or retaining employment if I had been working in a field with frequent layoffs. Instead, because I work in a market with a labor shortage, they get over it.

    Better than government protection, better than a strong union, better than a positive attitude: employers desperate to find somebody to fill this position.

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