Set positive example by appearance, attitude

  • Published
  • By Annette Owens
  • 333rd Training Squadron
Your first impression goes a long way. Your appearance is an integral part of that first impression. What you wear and how you present yourself set a tone that reflects your attitude about yourself and how you feel about your job.

You don't always have to wear your "Sunday best," but your clothing should be professional. The nature of your job is a starting point for determining what is appropriate and what is not. Look to your boss, other supervisors and leaders in your organization for guidance. How are they dressed? On occasion, you may be required to represent your supervisor and fill in when they are on leave, on temporary duty or on other occasions. Will you look the part?

Air Force Instruction 36-703, Civilian Conduct and Responsibility, is another good resource for civilian dress and appearance guidance: "Employees are expected to comply with reasonable dress and grooming standards based on comfort, productivity, health, safety and type of position occupied. Due to the diversity of work functions and locations, appropriate dress standards may vary significantly. Employee attire will be in good repair, and should not be considered offensive, disruptive or unsafe." AFI 36-703 also states that "any management prohibitions on specific civilian dress must be based on a clear showing that the prohibited dress contributes to an unsafe, unhealthy, nonproductive or disruptive work environment. Management disagreement with styles, modes of dress and grooming currently in fashion is not an adequate criterion for making such a determination."

In the 81st Training Group, we're setting the example for young impressionable Airmen on a daily basis. We should strive to set a positive example, not only in our conduct but in our dress and appearance as well. Although dress standards are highly subjective, it's easy to spot those who aren't presenting a "professional public image." Attire suitable for the beach, working in the yard or other leisure activities doesn't present a professional image and shouldn't be worn on the job. Men typically wear short- or long-sleeved open-neck shirts or polo shirts with nice slacks. Women generally wear casual dress or pants suits. Individuals should follow good hygiene practices as well, such as ensuring their clothing is clean and in good repair. Strive to dress as though you were going for an interview.

When you're preparing for an interview, you want to present a professional appearance and make a good impression. For some of us, it may have been a while since going to an interview.

To help brush up on your interviewing skills, you might want to participate in the three-part interviewing skills seminar, 3:15-4 p.m. May 17-19 in Room 108, Sablich Center. The presentation by Lana Smith will include helpful hints about dressing for interviews.

According to Ms. Smith, "the purpose of your clothing is to project an image of professionalism." She suggests that your clothes should subtly add to your appearance. More importantly, clothing shouldn't detract from your business persona. You may want to stand out, but wearing a business "uniform" communicates instantly that you're a mature, stable professional and a member of the team. Even if the company's dress code is very casual, your interviewing attire should adhere to a conservative standard.

Whether you are going for an interview or reporting for duty, take pride in yourself and your job -- dress for the profession.