Deloitte.comAt the end of the day, the way you dress and look impacts the way you’re evaluated and promoted. It doesn’t mean everything, but it informs the baseline impression someone has. That’s doubly true for people with their eye on a management role.
In a recent interview with Fortune, Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria shares a personal story which shows how true this is. He didn’t have as polished a background as many of his co-workers, which impacted his early years.
“I had a big mustache and bad hair. Also, I had two suits, one brown and the other green polyester … It took me a long time to realise that these things matter in the corporate world. No one was willing to tell me,” Echevarria says. “Because of these things, however superficial they might seem, I kept getting evaluations that said I had “low potential.” Nobody thought I would ever get promoted.”
But after watching what successful people at the firm did and getting some tough advice from a mentor (she told him, as he left for a vacation — “you’re coming back without that mustache. You will never make it into management if you look like the Frito Bandito”) he started to learn and change.
Of course, shaving the mustache and upgrading his suiting didn’t get him to where he is. “I worked very, very hard,” Echevarria says. “I worked harder than everybody else.”
He has a few more pieces of advice for recent grads, informed by his own experience.
- Talent doesn’t help if you don’t outwork everyone else
- Find a mentor that will be honest with you about your shortcomings
- You might have to work somewhere for free for a bit to do what you really want. “Prove yourself by working hard and doing a great job, and I guarantee you that they will find a way to hire you and pay you,” Echevarria says.
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