Does Appearance Matter?

The way you look can affect you not only in your daily life but also in your working life. Studies show that if you are well-groomed and dressed in a professional manner, chances are you will go further in your workplace. If you ask yourself, “Would you be more inclined to trust a major client to the employee who wears sweats and flip flops or to someone who is dressed in a suit?” you’ll realize just how important how you present yourself is to your career. When you dress the part and groom for it, you are more likely to be noticed and thought of as more organized and smarter than someone who dresses in casual attire all the time. Forbes did economic studies indicating that those with good grooming are more likely to raise the level of their income.

It is never easy to change that first impression, so you don’t want to waste any chance you have to meet with those who can benefit your career and do it while looking as sharp as possible. This also includes social settings and events. Appearances matter, so dress to match the culture of your work environment. Taking care of your appearance is the easiest way to get ahead.

In PR, that professional appearance could differ somewhat from one office to another. A boutique firm specializing in high fashion brands might need a few outfits with designer labels and some expensive and stylish shoes. Build that wardrobe with care, buy classic suits and then add fashionable colors and patterns with accessories. If you work for a PR firm specializing in lobbying or financial services, your clothing choices should be of the more conservative nature, but still, buying two well-fitted suits (whether for men or women) in classic colors instead of five or six cheap knockoffs will work better, even if that means you have to repeat the suit a few times a week. Get quality and then add shirts or blouses and other accessories that feel comfortable but may not be as high-end so you can buy a few more and change them out more often. Cleanliness is another major factor in looking professional. Use deodorant, brush your hair and teeth, and floss those teeth, too.

While appearance and grooming matter, back it up with substance. Be willing to learn not only your job but how to get along with others. Top PR companies want you to represent them, so think professional. If you dress the part, you are more likely to think the part. PR companies also want you to talk the talk. This not only shows you know how to represent your company in a favorable light, but also that you remain professional at all times (i.e., no swearing or inappropriate comments).

Finally, don’t forget that your image is a combination of how you present yourself and your knowledge and understanding of the job. That’s the final touch: Confidence! Confidence shows in how you look and how you present yourself, but you’re never going to have it until you also know you can do your job with the best of them.

Now, go out and shine like the professional you are.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.