“They say you should dress for the job you aspire to, not the one you have, so should you have to dress the part to get an academic job? If we are to believe Pierre Bourdieu, the French social theorist, the answer would be yes because we all possess ‘cultural capital’.” Dr Mewburn
At the 2015 Vitae Researcher Development International Conference Professor Tristram Hooley, Professor of Careers Education at the University of Derby, gave a presentation on appearance and its influence on career opportunities. This generated quite a bit of reaction on Twitter at the time, and this image from PHD Comics was shared several times. Dress code is often something that crops up for people when preparing for a conference or job interview, Dr Inger Mewburn aka @thesiswhisperer shares some reflections on her growing dress code taxonomy. As Professor Hooley said when he gave hist presentation at the 2015 conference, “there is a more complex set of codes for women than for men.“
The conclusions of Professor Hooley’s presentation state that:
- Appearance and attractiveness matter to career
- This is true in a wide range of contexts and seem likely to be true in higher education and research work.
- Prior to transitions people are often concerned about issues related to appearance and attractiveness.
- We should be talking about these issues more.
- How we talk about this need to be carefully handled.