What you wear matters when applying for a job but all this person was hoping for was a large desk to mask what she was wearing. Yes, you heard me right, a large desk between her and the receptionist.
Here’s a story about a woman who wanted a last-minute review of her resume and cover letter. She had found a job posting that appeared to meet her needs and offered a good compensation package. After reviewing her papers and suggesting some minor changes I wished her good luck and gave a friendly reminder to put on work appropriate clothes before dropping off her resume. I noticed she was dressed casually with her blouse, boots, jacket and a pair of dark jeans so I said, “You can never underestimate the power of the front desk staff as they often take notes on how you present yourself.” Initially, I felt certain she didn’t intend to drop off the resume without changing first, but I was wrong.
She said, “Oh, I’m just wearing this because I’m driving my scooter there but they will probably have one of those big desks so they won’t see my jeans anyway. Hopefully they will just look from the waist up.” The woman thanked me for helping with the editing and off she went out the door with helmet and paperwork at her side. I learned later that she has been looking for employment for a long time and this is likely one of the reasons why. She may have the education and even meet most of the qualifications for the position but her personal presentation is completely inappropriate for the jobs she is seeking.
When job hunting you can’t cut corners and expect to stand out in the crowd. From application to presentation everything has to say, I’m thorough, I care and I’m the one for you. This woman was applying for a community based position and at the very least should have been wearing a proper blouse, blazer and if she wanted to wear pants there are plenty of business styles that would have looked far better.
Hoping for a big desk…what’s up with that?