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Resources Pre-Quiz Rules of Dressing for Job Interviews and Work

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1 MODULE Self Improvement LESSON The ABCs to Dressing for Success: Always Be Conservative

2 Resources Pre-Quiz Rules of Dressing for Job Interviews and Work
Worksheet activity| Scenarios Self-Assessment Situational Judgment Questions Video Link RPC

3 Think and Discuss Why is the rule “Always Be Conservative” (ABCs) important in the workplace? What are some examples of appropriate attire in the workplace?

4 Lesson Rationale: Dressing for success is a basic requirement for the workplace. Your attire communicates your professionalism and your attitude. It also says something about whether you are taking a particular situation seriously and how you feel about yourself. Even though they are expected, appropriate attire and good grooming contribute greatly to a positive first impression. On the other hand, inappropriate attire and poor grooming can devastate a first impression, even if a person’s words and body language are top notch. Dressing for success is an area in which all of us can improve, even the most fashion conscious, and so it is included in the Self Improvement Module. This lesson includes two anecdotes which give viewpoints on the importance of attire from people who have personal experience regarding the impact of attire. A video vignette demonstrates how taking time to dress professionally can make a difference in a job search, even at the point of simply asking for an application. In a classroom exercise, you will be asked to think about the rules of dressing for job interviews and for work, as you see them. Then you can compare your lists to a list of DOs and DON’Ts that is provided. Interactive role-play exercises give you a chance to act out scenarios in which appropriate attire or grooming plays a role. The culminating group activity is a student fashion show in which you can come to class dressed professionally and receive feedback. Dressing for success is a dynamic process. Different settings require different clothing, and fashions change over time – such as the emphasis on business casual attire at work. The key is for you to be aware of what is involved in dressing for success, feel comfortable wearing clothes that are appropriate for the workplace, and know how to look your personal best. This should lead to confidence, and the knowledge that you are outfitted to do your best at work.

5 Key Words Attire Conservative Dress Grooming Unkempt Idiosyncrasies

6 Dress for Success Pre-Quiz
1. Dressing for success means that your clothes are more expensive than anyone else’s. True False 2. The best outfit to wear to a job interview is: a. Something that is relaxed and casual, so you will be more relaxed b. An outfit that shows off your personality c. A suit d. Bright flashy colors so you will be remembered 3. When wearing a shirt with stripes, it is best to wear a tie with a checkered pattern.

7 4. Which work situation requires appropriate dress:
a. Meeting with the company president b. Staff meeting with your co-workers c. Visit to a client’s office d. Lunch in the work cafeteria e. All of the above 5. While dressing for work, women should NEVER: a. Wear low-cut shirts b. Wear low-cut slacks c. Wear short skirts d. All of the above e. None of the above

8 Anecdote 1 “One area of great concern I see in organizations, companies, and schools is an increasingly carefree atmosphere when it relates to appearance and dress. I can recall a time when I was pushing for a school uniform for my high school. The majority of my teachers pushed for the uniform code because they were upset at students’ dress appearances. They believed that the dress of our students directly influenced student discipline. As I listened to those teachers pushing for a school uniform, I noticed many of them wearing Levi’s with holes in them, tee-shirts, short skirts, and displaying unkempt grooming. I thought to myself, “How can I push for a uniform policy at my school site when many of my teachers pushing for it look like complete slobs themselves?” I am a true believer that what you wear and how you keep yourself reflects your attitude in your work environment. I believe firsthand that if our teachers looked professional, positive student discipline and student achievement would increase. I believe the same can be said for any organization. When people look professional, they act professional. I encourage all of you to understand your organization’s uniform or dress code policy and follow it conservatively.” - School Principal

9 Anecdote 1 – Think About It
1. How does a person’s clothing and grooming reflect his or her attitude? 2. Give an example of how a person’s professional appearance will lead him or her to behave professionally as well. 3. What is the impact on people lower down in an organization if people higher up in the organization don’t follow good dressing and grooming habits?

10 Anecdote 2 “When I was growing up, I didn’t have parents who could tell me how to dress for success. My dad was a construction worker, and my grandfather was a fireman. They never wore suits, ties, or dress shoes. My family never had much money. If and when I was able to purchase “dress clothes,” they were quite often made of cheap material with ugly patters and strange colors. As a result, I kind of looked out of place. To make matters worse, the dress shoes my family could afford were made of plastic, not leather. This was not the problem; having inexpensive clothes is okay. The main problem for me was that I didn’t know how to color coordinate, and I had nobody to help me. If you have $5,000 to spend on an outfit, 99% of the time, the suit will look great, the shoes will look great, and all of the accessories will look great, without even having to try!! Unfortunately, as students, you don’t always have that much money. The best thing you can do when shopping for business clothes is to visit a mid-range department store. Ask the sales staff to help you arrange some outfits that will fit your budget. As long as the colors match, the clothes are clean, and you buy the correct sizes of shirt, tie, and slacks or blouse, you will look like a million bucks without having to spend that much!!” - Career Counselor

11 Anecdote 2 – Think About It
1. Describe some ways that a person can create outfits that go together without having to spend too much money. 2. What are some other ways that you can learn about dress attire, if you aren’t able to ask your family?

12 Video Link RPC – Think About It 1. What judgments do you think the employees in the business will make of Brad, based solely on his attire in scene one? What about in scene two? 2. Describe the differences in Brad’s attitude and conversational style between the two scenes. Do you think that changing his clothes had anything to do with these differences? Why or why not?

13 DOs and DON’Ts of Business Attire:
Comb your hair Brush your teeth Take a shower Trim your fingernails Shave your face (men) Shave your legs (ladies) [Unless this conflicts with your religious practice] Wear a suit (men and ladies) Wear clothes that are pressed and clean Wear dark blue or gray suits with white shirts Wear a solid color tie or a tie with small patterns Wear dress shoes that are polished Wear socks that match the color of your suit pants “Zip your fly” Wear a leather belt that matches the color of your shoes

14 DON’Ts Spend too much on your clothes—purchase professional looking clothes at a good price Leave your hair messy, spiked, glittered, purple, orange, yellow, etc. Have bad breath and/or food in your teeth Reek of body odor Have long and/or dirty fingernails Wear a t-shirt, jeans, and/or gym shoes Wear a wrinkled shirt and/or wrinkled pants with a wrinkled blazer that doesn’t match Wear a red, light blue, black and white checker, yellow, green, or orange suit Wear red, yellow, orange, green, or any LOUD ties Wear shoes with scuffs or holes Wear white socks with your dark-colored suit Leave your fly open Wear slacks without a belt (unless you are wearing suspenders, which might look pretentious) Display body piercing or tattoos Display a lot of jewelry (necklaces, rings, nose rings, ear rings, etc) Reveal any skin besides that on your face and hands Wear tight clothes

15 (2 volunteers read aloud to the class.)
Dress for Success - Scenario A: (2 volunteers read aloud to the class.) JAIME: Hi Jorge! I heard that you have an interview for that job at the bank. JORGE: Yeah, actually, I’m on my way there right now. JAIME: Is that what you are going to wear? JORGE: Sure – this is my personality – a concert t-shirt and ripped jeans is who I am! INTERMISSION

16 Questions for Review: 1. What do you think of Jorge’s choice of interview attire? 2. Is it a good idea to show his “personality” this way? 3. What signal is he sending to the bank with his clothes?

17 BACK TO SCENARIO A: JAIME: I know, but this is a job interview! Don’t you want to show them that you care about the job? You look like you are dressed to hang out at home. JORGE: This is all part of my grand strategy! By dressing like this, I am going to convince them that I can relate to their younger customers – the youth market! JAIME: But doesn’t everyone there wear a suit? JORGE: Not anymore! I hate suits – you’ll never get me to wear one. INTERMISSION

18 Questions for Review: 1. What do you think of Jorge’s “grand strategy?” 2. Does Jorge have a point that relaxed attire by a bank employee will help him or her relate to a youth market? What kind of signal would this send to a potential customer of the bank? 3. Is this a good choice for a potential employer for Jorge if he hates wearing suits?

Incorrect Dress for Success Behavior #1: Choosing your interview clothes to demonstrate your personality and make a “statement.” An interview is the worst time to try to use your clothes to show off your personality or make a statement. An interviewer at the bank isn’t interested in seeing Jorge’s personality in his clothes, he or she will want to see if Jorge can do the job and represent the bank professionally to its customers. When the interviewer sees Jorge dressed this way, he or she will likely think that Jorge is unprofessional and doesn’t care. The interview might even end early! And even if Jorge has a point about ways to relate to younger customers by dressing differently, he certainly shouldn’t bring that up by dressing down in an interview! AD-LIB the ALTER-ENDING: Volunteer to ad-lib (play it out off the top of your head) the rest of “SCENARIO A” with the questions below as a guideline for your acting: What would have happened if Jorge had taken Jaime’s advice? How would SCENARIO A have unfolded? Feel free to volunteer to ad-lib the alter-ending to “SCENARIO A” if you have more ideas.

20 (4 more volunteers read aloud to the class.)
Dress for Success - Scenario B: (4 more volunteers read aloud to the class.) BILLY: Hi guys – isn’t this company picnic great! BETH: It sure is. Perfect weather to be outside. Hey, did you see what Terry is wearing? Can you believe wearing a suit to a company picnic? What is that about? SHARON: I know, Terry can’t play volleyball or any of the carnival games in that get-up. BILLY: What a show off, must be trying to impress the boss! This is the one day a year where everyone is allowed to dress casually, even the top managers. Terry is making us look bad. INTERMISSION

21 Questions for Review: 1. What do you make of Terry’s choice of attire for the company picnic? 2. If you were the boss, would you be impressed by Terry’s clothes? 3. Are you surprised that other coworkers are discussing Terry’s clothes in this situation?

22 BACK TO SCENARIO B: TERRY: Hey guys! BILLY: Hey Terry! Having a good time at the picnic? TERRY: Not really. I should never have worn this suit. I don’t know what I was thinking. I can’t do anything and I’m afraid to sit down and get something on it. SHARON: Yeah…say, we were just going to go over and get some lemonade. Want to come along? TERRY: Sure – sounds good. INTERMISSION

23 Questions for Review: 1. After Terry realized that a suit was the wrong thing to wear to the picnic, how did he or she make the best of the situation? 2. Was it a good idea for Terry to bring up his or her suit in conversation? Did this help break the ice? 3. Do you think that Sharon and Billy are still feeling like Terry is trying to make them look bad? Do you think that they will harbor ill-will towards Terry for this?

Incorrect Dress for Success Behavior #2: Dressing too formally for the occasion. Always Be Conservative is the rule, but there are situations when dressing too formally can backfire. By dressing in a suit for the company picnic, when the practice was for all employees to dress casually, Terry ensured that he or she would have less fun at the picnic and that others would talk! If there is a workplace situation in which more casual attire is expected, that’s fine, but be sure not to be too casual! The best approach is to be on the conservative side of casual in these instances. AD-LIB the ALTER-ENDING: Volunteer to ad-lib the rest of “SCENARIO B” with the questions below as a guideline for your acting: What do you suppose would have happened if Terry had asked someone in advance what to wear to the picnic if he or she was unsure? Would Terry have felt better at the picnic? Feel free to volunteer to ad-lib the alter-ending to “SCENARIO B” if you have more ideas.

25 (3 more volunteers read aloud to the class.)
Dress for Success - Scenario C: (3 more volunteers read aloud to the class.) ANNA: Whew! I made it. I thought I was going to be late to work. LORETTA: Yep, you made it. But I need to tell you something privately, before you go in the door. (SPEAKING SOFTLY) Your hair is all tangled around your necklace and earrings. ANNA: (SPEAKING SOFTLY) Thanks Loretta! I was running late and didn’t have time to take the bus. My brother drove me to work and I was trying to fix my hair while he was driving, and there wasn’t a mirror. And I’m meeting with a customer right now too, Mrs. Jones. LORETTA: No problem. Have a good day! (a minute later, Anna is fixing her hair in the restroom) ANNA: (talking to herself). Wow. My makeup looks awful too. Let me fix this… (ten minutes later, back at the entrance to the office) MRS. JONES: Hi, I have a meeting with Anna. ANNA: I’m Anna. We can meet right here in the conference room… INTERMISSION

26 Questions for Review: 1. What mistakes was Anna making today? 2. What should Anna have done to prevent this problem? 3. Was Loretta right to have said something?

Incorrect Dress for Success Behavior #3: Not taking the time for proper grooming. There is no excuse for heading out to work without taking the time for proper grooming. Do whatever you need to do to manage your time in the morning so that you are not rushed and your appearance doesn’t suffer as a result. A neat appearance is expected and all employees need to deliver on this every time! AD-LIB the ALTER-ENDING: Volunteer to ad-lib the rest of “SCENARIO C” with the questions below as a guideline for your acting: What would have happened if Loretta hadn’t been there to tell Anna? Would the meeting with the customer have been affected? Most likely the customer wouldn’t say anything…but what would she have been thinking? Feel free to volunteer to ad-lib the alter-ending to “SCENARIO C” if you have more ideas.

28 Dress for Success Self-Assessment
1. I generally don’t know what to wear to a professional or work event. HOW CLOSELY DOES THIS DESCRIBE YOUR CURRENT SITUATION? Not at all Just a little Very close Right on! 2. Often I feel under-dressed or over-dressed. 3. I don’t know how to use my wardrobe to create outfits that look good, so I end up wearing the same thing over and over.

29 4. Sometimes I forget to brush my hair before I go out.
HOW CLOSELY DOES THIS DESCRIBE YOUR CURRENT SITUATION? Not at all Just a little Very close Right on! 5. I think that however I look is fine – I shouldn’t have to adjust m appearance to fit a professional or work event. 6. I like to wear something shocking to a professional or work event so people will notice me.

30 7. My dress clothes are wrinkled when I wear them.
HOW CLOSELY DOES THIS DESCRIBE YOUR CURRENT SITUATION? Not at all Just a little Very close Right on! 8. If I’m not sure what is appropriate to wear to a work or professional event, I just take a guess.

31 Tabulate the Score to the Dress for Success Self-Assessment
TOTAL SCORE WHAT IT MIGHT MEAN WHAT YOU SHOULD DO FOR FOLLOW-UP 32 You have the highest level of difficulty with dressing for success. Spend some time with your teacher or counselor to develop a strategy to improve in this area right away. 24 to 31 You seem to have trouble with dressing for success. Spend some time with your teacher or counselor to develop a strategy to improve in the areas that you are struggling with. 16 to 23 You are on the right track! Take some time to practice developing your weak areas. 8 to 15 You have few concerns with dressing for success! Good for you! Polish your weak areas to get even better. QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT: 1. Which areas of DRESSING FOR SUCCESS from the Self-Assessment are your strongest? Weakest? 2. How do you explain this?

32 Journal your responses to the following questions:
1. Why is the rule “Always Be Conservative” (ABCs) important in the workplace? 2. What are some examples of appropriate attire in the workplace?

33 Final Thoughts: To make an impression on your employer, look nice and always dress conservatively. If you are interviewing for a position, it is imperative that you wear your best clothes. If you can afford dry cleaning, we suggest that you get your clothes dry cleaned. Many employers are frustrated by the appearance job candidates have when they interview. If you want your name crossed off quickly, look like a slob at an interview. If you want serious consideration, look your best. When you are hired for your position, your employers will be very impressed if you continue to look well groomed. In addition, one of the criteria for job evaluations is based on employee appearance. You do not want to be evaluated poorly in this area because you have complete control on how you look. When we say grooming, it is not just how you look. Use deodorant, have clean hair, and brush your teeth. You will turn people and employers completely off if you do not do this. Good Luck!

34 “The ABCs to Dressing for Success: Always Be Conservative”– Situational Judgment Questions
1. Jack is getting ready for his first day on the job. He wants to look good. What should Jack wear in order to make a good first impression? a. A tight fitting shirt that shows off his muscles and some jeans. b. A new, $500 suit and alligator shoes. c. A blue suit, white shirt and solid color tie. d. He shouldn’t worry about it because nobody notices what you wear on the first day.

35 2. Lulu is getting ready for an interview with XYZ Corporation
2. Lulu is getting ready for an interview with XYZ Corporation. She heard that her orange hair, nose rings, 25 bracelets on each wrist, hoop ear rings, thick eye liner and tattoos might not impress the company managers. She isn’t sure what she should do before the interview and she wants you to help her. What would you instruct her to do? a. She should be herself. If they don’t like who she is then she shouldn’t work there. b. She should only take out the nose ring because the other issues are not that bad. c. She should change her hair color to black or brown, take out the nose ring and cover her tattoos with a long sleeve shirt. d. She needs a complete business make over, including make-up, clothing and jewelry adjustments.

36 3. Albert is going to an interview at a company that is known for its employees wearing professional attire. One problem - Albert doesn’t own a suit. What should he do? a. Find a way to get a suit. Ideally buy one, but if he can’t, borrow one that will fit. b. Call ahead to the interviewer and let her know that he won’t be wearing a suit because he doesn’t own one, but if he gets hired, he’ll spend his first paycheck on a suit. c. Wear the most professional outfit he owns, even though it isn’t a suit. d. Try to see if he can do the interview on the p

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