Career mistakes

15th February 2013 at 00:00

Projecting the wrong image

I once worked with an able colleague who looked even younger than his relatively tender years. He applied for countless promotions, and got lots of interviews but no offers. It wasn't difficult to see why. He was careless with his dress, his hair was all over the place, he couldn't resist making silly nervous jokes and generally came across like a soft lad. He forgot that a being a young and shambolic joker may win friends, and can work in the classroom, but it doesn't necessarily signal management and leadership potential.

What is the right thing to do?

Having seen it done, I've become convinced that you can help your career by paying attention to dress and grooming, projecting maturity and gravitas when it is required. A successful head summed it up for me once: "When I enter a room full of visiting adults I want them to know I'm the head," she said. "The governors need to see what they have spent their money on."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today