Your students only have one chance to make a good first impression. Making a good first impression is very important. Once someone has an impression of you it can be hard to change it. One’s physical appearance is the first thing people use to form an initial impression. It is human nature to draw conclusions about individuals based on what we see in front of us. Customers, clients, and supervisors probably have higher standards for physical appearance than what most would consider acceptable for a Saturday afternoon. However, there’s more that goes into looking professional than just dressing the part.

Students who are new to the workforce may not think about how their physical appearance can influence the way people perceive them. This discussion can be made more difficult when there are socioeconomic factors at play. However, there is no reason for your students to not be prepared when it comes to this important aspect of employability. Use this post with your students to facilitate a discussion about the different aspects of physical appearance and how it relates to professionalism.


brushing teeth

The fanciest suit in the world won’t mean much if you wear it without showering first. A professional physical appearance starts with good hygiene. Hygiene includes all of the actions you perform in order to stay clean and healthy. That’s right; good hygiene isn’t just important for your physical appearance. Hygiene is also important for being healthy and preventing the spread of germs. Some examples of good hygiene practices include washing your hands regularly, brushing your teeth and showering every day.

Hair and Makeup

applying makeup

Looking professional and looking stylish might not always mean the same thing. If your everyday look includes a lot of makeup, you might want to consider wearing less makeup for work. Most employers don’t consider wearing a lot of makeup to be professional, so try and keep your makeup to a minimum. The most important thing to keep in mind with your hair is to keep it clean and keep the style simple. Be sure to comb your hair before work and wear it in a style that will not be distracting. Your employer might also have a policy about facial hair. If facial hair is allowed, be sure to keep it groomed and clean.



The workplace isn’t the best place to show off that new ball cap you bought this weekend. It’s important to know your employer’s policy on accessories. Accessories are extra things you might wear that are not really necessary to wear. If you’re ever unsure about whether or not an accessory is appropriate, you probably shouldn’t wear it. Keep jewelry simple and small. You don’t want to wear jewelry that will distract people from what you have to say. Facial piercings and tattoos are inappropriate in almost all work settings. Be sure to remove piercings and wear clothes that cover any tattoos you may have.

Dress to Impress

getting ready

Most companies have a dress code that they expect all employees to follow. A dress code is a set of guidelines that explains what is appropriate to wear to work and what is not. Before you go to work on your first day, be sure to find out about the dress code. If your job is in a professional setting such as a bank or an office, the dress code is probably considered “Business Professional.” That usually means wearing a suit and tie for men and dress pants or skirt and a nice shirt for women. If you work in a retail setting, your employer might require you to wear a uniform. No matter what the policy is, it’s important to make sure that your clothes are clean and free of wrinkles.

Never Underestimate the Power of a Smile


Have you ever met someone who never smiles? It’s hard to feel comfortable around someone who doesn’t smile. Whether you’re working with customers or the same coworkers every day, a smile goes a long way. A smile lets people know that you are friendly and easy to talk to. Not only that, but a smile has the power to change your whole state of mind. The next time you are in a bad mood or facing a challenging situation stop and smile, even if you don’t feel like it, and see how your attitude changes. You can’t help but have a positive attitude when you smile.