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Business Professional vs. Business Casual: What's the Difference?

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Though many of today’s workplaces have relaxed their dress codes, appropriate dress is no less important than it was in the past. This applies not only to how you present yourself while in a position, but also how you dress when interviewing for a new role.

First impressions matter, and your attire should show the interviewer or your potential future employer that you are taking the job, and the process, seriously. Presenting yourself in a professional manner can set you apart from other candidates with the same qualifications.

While your attire should match the norms of your industry, it isn’t always clear what those norms may be. For example, what’s the difference between business professional and business casual? Here is what we have learned:

What does business professional mean?
Industries such as finance and accounting have remained more formal than others, and employees are frequently expected to adhere to business professional dress codes. This generally refers to a suit, including a jacket and tie for men.

What is business casual?
Business casual can be confusing, and many organisations have different standards in regards to what classifies as business casual. In general, business casual would mean neat trousers with a button down shirt or polo for men, and a smart dress or skirt for women.

If the company you are interviewing for has a “business casual” dress code, we recommend you dress “one step up” from the way most employees at the company dress on a daily basis.

Check it out
While dress codes may seem self-explanatory, making assumptions about what is appropriate for interviewing is never a safe bet.

When in doubt, ask your recruiter and peers for guidance. Your recruiter can call the company’s hiring manager before your interview or first day of work, so that you show up looking sharp.

Be on the safe side
When it comes to a job interview or the start of a new position, don’t be a trendsetter. In fact, when you’re the newbie in the office, you may want to play it safe. Even if your co-workers are dressed more comfortably, err on the side of formal.

Have an interview and unsure how to dress? Contact and Aerotek recruiter today for more advice.  Job-hunting? Visit our job board.