Suit Vs Tee-shirt is an analysis of formality/informality in business. New methodologies clashing with tried-and-true mentalities create conflict for the modern business and employee. Here, I attempt to dissect various aspects of that clash.
A recent post about the Facebook Timeline brings up a very important issue about our new age of Social Media. As an extension of our resume, employers have access to Google. Almost each and every one of us will have some form of unique footprint on any search engine – articles, profiles, comments we’ve left. Suddenly, tools that were personal extensions of ourselves online are being scrutinized by employers. Traditional wisdom says that we should curate our online avatars. But this brings up an interesting question: Do we want to be hired by companies that expect automatons? Should the individual change their online presence? Or should companies begin to change their visions of employees from dollar signs to humans?
SUIT: It’s All a Resumé
THE IDEA: The first position here is that everything we do online is a massive extension of our resume. Facebook pictures, twitter posts, Google+, are all a part of a resource that your potential employer will check and attempt to glean information from. Thus, just as you would curate your resume to present your best face, you should curate your online presence.
IN REALITY: It’s definitely true that we’re scrutinized by our potential employers online. Many thorough HR departments will do extensive research for important positions. They’ll turn first to websites like LinkedIN as they will hold the most relevant information, but the attention will soon turn to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
PROS: Hirability by major, established companies. Appearance of normative behavior. Safe.
CONS: Time and effort put in to curating profile. Socially awkward to interact with friends in this way.
Tee-Shirt: It’s My Life
THE IDEA: It doesn’t matter what employers think. “Yes, they will look at my websites,” this idea says “they’ll see a beer can in my hand and perhaps they will judge me. If they do, I don’t want to be hired by them anyway.” This idea rests on the premise that a company should only be worried about what you do at work, not what you do at home or at a bar.
IN REALITY: Well, the reality is they are checking. For some people, this mentality will work. Some companies are actually looking for people to express their personalities. Tweeting about movies or beer is probably a great idea if you want to get in to that market. Some companies want to make sure their employees know how to have fun as well. They may be looking for character as well as hire-ability.
PROS: This style will ensure you work for an interesting, progressive company you gel with.
CONS: You are limiting your pool from major firms or hyper-professional organizations.
Yes. Most companies are checking your SM presence. In fact, many are quite good at even seeing what you don’t want them to. Personally, I follow the Tee-Shirt model. I want to work with people who are interesting and progressive. However, I’m also not applying to a prestigious law firm or consulting group. As a writer, being too-dressy can sometimes be a detriment. However, entering a CEO’s office in a tee-shirt might not work.
You have to analyze what your goals are. The point ends up being that your life and your image should align, not come into conflict.