Developing Your Career

Job Performance Boost: Wear the Right Clothes

By Greg Simpson on June 11, 2012

The old adage “the clothes make the man (or woman)” may be more true than we think.  Your attire can affect not only the perception others have of you but also how you feel about yourself.

In a recent New York Times article,  “Mind Games: Sometimes a White Coat Isn’t Just a White Coat,” author Sandra Blakeslee discusses “embodied cognition,” a scientific area investigating how the clothing we wear impacts our thought processes and how we perform certain tasks.

A study referenced in The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology concluded, “If you wear a white coat that you believe belongs to a doctor, your ability to pay attention increases sharply. But if you wear the same white coat believing it belongs to a painter, you will show no such improvement.”  Further testing revealed that “clothes invade the body and brain, putting the wearer into a different psychological state.”

This phenomenon has interesting implications for individuals in job search.  If you’re still in your pajamas at 3 pm, not only is it more difficult to convey a professional image to those you contact throughout the day, but research indicates your self-confidence will decline and the quality of your work will suffer. 

Start your day as if you’re going to the office – and dress professionally.  Business-casual attire will help create an optimal state of mind to succeed in landing a new role. It’s a scientifically proven method that will boost your attitude, confidence, performance and outlook.  Keep the “white coat” experiment in mind, and dress for job search success.

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