In the professional world, one of the ways in which job candidates and employees are subconsciously evaluated is through the ways they present themselves. This presents a potential challenge for new graduates, as new graduates may not be familiar with professional standards or may not have the resources to equip to create their professional persona. In the Liberal Arts in Practice Center, professional staff can help you to evaluate a potential workplace and think through strategies for presenting yourself both authentically and professionally.
Standards for professional attire vary from organization to organization. What may be acceptable at one workplace may not be acceptable in another. Here are some questions to investigate, either through researching the organization, connecting with your network, or directly asking your hiring contact.
- Is the organization for-profit, non-profit, or government? For-profit and governmental organizations tend to be more formal, while non-profits tend to be less formal.
- Where is the organization located? Geography often influences the level of formality in all of its workplaces. Larger cities, for examples, can be more formal than smaller cities.
- How does the organization market itself? Check the website, social media, and physical materials for how employees are depicted.
- When in doubt, what is the policy? Read the staff handbook or connect with the hiring manager to ask directly what the standards for professional dress are in the organization.
The Liberal Arts in Practice Center has created some resources to help you learn more about professional attire. Check out our Pinterest boards for Female-Identifying Individuals, Male-Identifying Individuals, and Non-Binary/Genderqueer Individuals. Additionally, the Do the LAP blog has a number of posts about professionalism, including hints about professional attire.