Originally posted April 27th, 2008.
Remember back in the day when applying for a job meant buying a conservative black, dark brown, or navy suite, (skirt suit for the females with dark pantyhose, sensible fashion-less pumps and a string of pearls?) We were told by our career counselors to put our hair into orderly buns; making sure it was tucked behind our ears. Once we got the refined look in order, we would step into the job searching adventure, often literally walking into companies, door to door and handing our resume to the hiring manager.
If you are a generation Y, you probably don’t know what I am talking about, and that is just as well, because it seems that today’s Silicon Valley job hunter will never have to wear a conservative suit again. Personally I do not seem to be able to do away without it, in order to feel at the height of my confidence, I need to wear some type of a suite, along with a perfectly ironed blouse. Back in Iran where I grew up, the women in my community would never be caught dead leaving the house without immaculate makeup and shinny high hill shoes. (Ironically I grew up under the current regime, which does not allow women to wear make up and scorns on anything fashionable.)
I entered the professional world as a Concierge for the Ritz Carlton Hotel which led me to a career in the world of luxury and fashion, where not only was I required to wear designer suits, and carry the latest in season handbags, I had to make sure that each piece of my outfit was in perfect harmony with the rest of my ensemble. These days, I have done away with the Ritz Carlton slick black suite, and to much delight, have completely given up the sticky itchy pantyhose, but continue to remain faithful towards my moderately priced ready to wear pant suits from the Limited and the Express. I now also allow myself the luxury of wearing any kind of shoes I want, and a handbag that ages back as many as 3 or 4 seasons!
I must admit that I still find myself overly dressed compared to the rest of the job seekers, and almost always more formal than the hiring committee. Will I have to change my dressing patterns in order to land the good jobs in the Web 2.0 arena? Only time will tell!