Dress for the Job You Want, NOT the Job You Have

Posted by: David Chapman on November 13, 2015

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Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” - this quote, from "Picture Perfect,"  is as familiar as “Show Me the Money” - and far more impactful than you might think."

I watched "Picture Perfect" right before I entered college, and this phrase has guided me throughout my entire college and professional career.  If you go beyond the literal meaning of this quote, I’m sure you’ll find it as useful in your life as I have mine.

The words still ring just as true today as when I first heard Jennifer Aniston’s boss say them in the movie.   To this day, it is still one of my favorite, can’t-get-enough-of “chick-flicks” (in fact, I’d put it up there with the top ten-and how Monster-in-Law didn’t make the list, I don’t know…but that’s another blog for another time).  For those of you who are “too cool” for “chick-flicks” (hey, to each his own, right?) and are unfamiliar with the movie, Aniston plays a young and eager account executive who never gets the recognition she deserves in a job where she always produces, in boss language, BIG RESULTS.  This inspires her to make some drastic moves, like claiming she’s engaged to someone she’s not, all in an effort to receive praise from important colleagues.  At the end of the day though, her actions, ethical or not, didn’t bring the payoff she was expecting because they weren’t genuine.

The moral of the story, in my opinion, is to get up, dress up, and show up, EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Believe me, people take notice when you do AND when you don’t.

Your boss hired you to do your work well…so don’t expect a pat on the back every time you achieve that status. And if you do get those pats on the back, don’t think your job is done.  Keep going.  Show up; don’t give up. Remember…your goal is to keep moving UP that ladder.  On the flip side, if you’re not quite the best at what you do yet, keep “showing up” and you’ll still gain the respect you’re looking for from your boss and colleagues.

When I say “show up” everyday, I don’t just mean dragging yourself into the office like this.  I mean…

  1. Never stop trying – This applies to even the best account executive out there.  The second you stop trying or think you’re good enough “as is”, that’s when “the next best thing” will take your place.
  2. You are never too wise to stop learning…or too good to feel nervous – I was once told by one of my news anchor mentors, “the second I stop getting nervous on air, is the second I shouldn’t do this job anymore.”  The same theory applies in public relations and to all of your accounts.
  3. “Showing up” goes beyond your list of big media hits– “show up” and bring the whole package! Dress like you care, talk like you care, treat your colleagues and clients like they matter. After all, remember that your job title has Public Relations in it – building relationships with the people that matter is not part of your job description – it’s ALL of your job description.  Don’t just do it for your clients, do it for yourself.
  4. “Attitudes are contagious…is yours worth catching?” Need I say more…

Hey, none of us are perfect and we’ve all felt like Aniston’s character before – and we all have those days where we just don’t feel like “showing up.”  But take the advice of Jerry McGuire’s mentor, Dicky Fox— greet each day at work as if you have something to prove - and remember what Jennifer Aniston’s character showed us…life’s too short to sulk, deceive, or lack confidence.  And in this day and age, quite frankly, the list of job openings is too short as well.

Bottom line, figure out the job you want to have and “dress” for it every day – I bet your boss, your colleagues (or someone your colleagues can introduce you to), will take notice and help you get there.

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Written by David Chapman

I was destined to be a marketing guy – particularly after my dream of becoming a major league baseball player fizzled away in college.
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