When you hear that there is a job opening, you will probably work longer hours, put more effort in, and get to work early in a futile attempt to make your superiors think about you as a suitable candidate for the promotion. Only to find out that a work colleague has got the job without changing their usual routine. Why do they get the job? It is probably down to their appearance, as your appearance influences your bosses opinions of your success, attitude, trustworthiness, and suitability for the promotion.

Firstly I will start by suggesting reasons why you are not being considered for the job, and I will present the findings of a recent survey by a popular job site called ‘CareerBuilder’ to provide an employers perspective on their employee’s Clothes. I will then offer solutions if you have one of the attributes mentioned in the survey. Then I will suggest how to get a promotion by changing what you wear to increase your chances of success.

CareerBuilder Survey

How you dress plays an absolutely crucial role in how your employer views you, and how they deem your suitability in a higher job position. According to the CareerBuilder survey which interviewed 2,765 employers to gauge their perspective on employees, 41% of the employers state that people who dress better than fellow employees are more likely to receive a promotion.

The part of the survey I would like to discuss is where the employers discuss what style, attitude, and attire cause them to reconsider offering a promotion to an employee.

Below are the top things that the employers said would make them less likely to offer a promotion:

Bad breath
Visible tattoos
Wrinkled clothes
Too much perfume or cologne
Dresses too casually

Rightly or wrongly if you have one of these attributes, then you are less likely to get a promotion. So here are the solutions on how to get a promotion, if you have these attributes.


how to get a promotion

Piercings on your nose, large earrings or tongue piercings are often considered to reflect your personality in a negative light and should be removed unless you work in a more creative industry.

Bad breath

Firstly you should ask you closest friend, partner or family if you have bad breath as they are most likely to know this. Then you can determine the root cause of your bad breath by asking them further questions about your breath (whether it’s to do with your teeth or that the food you eat tends to stay in your mouth). If it is a problem with your teeth, you can visit your dentists or speak to your local doctor to find a medical solution to your breath issues. If the cause of your breath is the food you eat, then just purchase some strong chewing gum or eat a neutral or pleasant smelling food after your meal to negate the bad smell.


Fortunately, this issues is easy to remedy by covering your tattoo with clothing. Unless your tattoo is on your face or hands. The only solution to this issue is to have tattoo removal surgery which I certainly wouldn’t suggest you have, because of my recommendation as it is costly and painful. But if you have desires to remove your tattoo anyway then know that it would probably improve your bosses perception of you.

Wrinkled Clothes

The solution to this issue is very simple. It is obviously to iron your clothes, which takes no longer than five minutes, iron them every day in the morning and you will also reap the added benefit of having a warm shirt to work which is not to be underestimated as its a real treat.

Too much perfume or cologne

Many think that a strong perfume or cologne will always reflect well on your character and that it will help your bosses recognize you. This is often wrong, as a strong fragrance can be very offputting and can seem like a desperate attempt for recognition. No one wants to be overpowered by a scent, however nice it may be. The trick is to balance a sweet memorable smell subtlety; you should spray your fragrance on one of your wrists and then rub it into the other to finish your scent off. Maybe spray some on your neck depending on the strength of your perfume or cologne.

Dressing too casually

how to get a promotion

The solution to this issue is simple but can be slightly expensive as if you are a man you will have to buy a few new shirts (a gingham check shirt will look professional while looking stylish which makes it a must have). Some brown and black smart shoes and smart trousers will finish off this look nicely.

Dress advice for women: firstly you must lose the large jewelry, then put on some smart shoes or short heels (toes should be covered with either option). Purchase a skirt and pants, compliment it with a buttoned-downed shirt or a shell to make you appear stylish, subtle and smart which is what bosses look for in their female employee’s clothes if they are to be deemed suitable for a promotion.

This change in outfit may take some getting use to and may be different to your work colleagues clothing. However, it will be more similar to your bosses clothes. This will help them visualize you in a higher position, as you already dress the part.

If you are to take anything from this article, take this one simple piece of advice: if in doubt dress like your superiors. When they get promoted or leave, you will seem like the ideal safe pair of hands just from your appearance and the clothes you wear.

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