What Should I Wear?

A: My employer has a casual dress code. I’m looking for a new position and can’t interview in the clothes I wear to the office. How can I further my search without blowing my cover?
–T. Jacobs, Baltimore, MD

A: First, let me congratulate you on remaining professional about your employment search. It’s clear that you understand there is a right and a wrong way to handle this situation. (For more on professionally executing an exit strategy, see “Kissing Your Employer Goodbye,” Powerplay, October 2000.)

Coming to work dressed to the nines will invite stares, as would changing for a lunchtime appointment (which would also surely extend past the standard hour-long break). Because there is such a contrast in the attire required for an interview and that which represents your company’s dress code, you may want to relegate your interviews to after-hours.

Another possibility is to use your personal or vacation days for this purpose. Sure, you may have less time for lying on the beach, but keeping your reputation intact–and your next move under wraps–will be worth the sacrifice.

Mail your career questions to Since You Asked, black enterprise, 130 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10011, or send an e-mail to clarker@blackenterprise.com.

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