Dress to Succeed – Dress to Impress

Don’t judge a book by its cover. However, it is also plausible that the presentation will form the first impression and reflect part of the content, do you agree? In fact, your presentation is more than “the cover”. Your presentation is your body language and your brand image.  Believe it or not, recruiters and employers do favour candidates whose look can bring success to their businesses. Time to be a winner from your dress – dress to succeed!

  1. There is no getting around the fact that image matters. The way you walk, talk and dress affects the way other people see you and think of you. To be successful you have to look successful and looking successful begins with how you dress.
  2. When we first meet new people, 55% of the impression we make is based on the way we dress, act and walk through the door; 38% on our voice, our accent, use of grammar and overall confidence. Only 7% is based on what we actually say!
  3. So what does what you wear say about you? Dressing appropriately is very different from dressing conservatively. A little style is always appropriate, even in the most conservative of professions. This applies to men as much as women, pre-matched shirts and ties can make you look like a chain store clone. Be creative, and choose clothes that express your own individuality, and reflect your personality.
  4. Research has shown that men look more professional and more authoritative in darker suits.
  5. Colour is also very important in the image we project. Skin tone, the colour of our eyes and the colour of our hair all affect the colour of the clothes that best suit you. If you have strong features or colouring, for example, warm, dark colours can often ‘wipe out’ your own natural colouring, leaving you looking pasty or even ill. Colour matching is a lesson many of us need to learn, including men!
  6. Classic styles are the ones to aim for, but more important are good quality clothes with an elegant fit to convey a quiet professionalism.
  7. Hairstyles should be neat and businesslike, and studies prove that women who wear make-up to work are promoted more rapidly. Men should note that research has shown that beards can make you look like you have got something to hide.
  8. Other people’s perceptions of you can be affected by the way you present yourself. Looking the part and feeling smart and professional will boost your confidence and make you feel better about yourself. This helps you to project the image you want.


The image you present has never been more important, and first impressions are vital.

Research consistently highlights on-the-spot decision making by interviewers, based on how a candidate comes across in the crucial first few minutes. Typically, recruitment decisions are made in the first five minutes, before you have had many opportunities to speak in your own favour. Essentially, if a candidate looks the part, the interviewer will assume he or she can do the job. If you don’t look successful, the interviewer will not think you are successful!


Remember that the interviewer is not only assessing your skills and experience but also whether they like you and above all, whether they think you will fit in with the culture of their company. Try to develop a rapport with your interviewer – help to put them at their ease. The more comfortable the interviewer feels with you, the better the interview will go. Be aware of the following:

  • Have a firm handshake.
  • Maintain plenty of eye contact.
  • Don’t go on too much – watch for any signs of boredom on behalf of the interviewer.
  • Avoid jargon.
  • Don’t fidget (with your hair, with a pen, etc.).
  • At the interview be positive and enthusiastic about the job and the company, even if you decide you are no longer interested in the position. Enthusiasm can sometimes compensate for not possessing quite the right experience.