Administrative/Clerical: Cheap Ways to Look Good for Your Annual Review

When it’s time for your annual review, it’s important that your dress to impress—even if your company allows you to dress casually on a day-to-day basis. Your annual review is your time to shine. While you can expect to review your accomplishments and weaknesses and go over job performance tips during the process, you can also use the time allotted for your annual review to let your boss know that you’re interested in other positions, so it’s important that you look professional. Fortunately, you don’t have to break the budget to transform your look.

When you’re preparing for your annual review, do a quick assessment of your appearance. Women should make sure they have everything they need to complete a professional look, including makeup and jewelry. Both men and women should make sure their hair has recently been cut so it’s easy to style. Ensuring that you’re properly groomed is important, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a new, fresh look. Instead of splurging on an expensive haircut,  visit a salon that offers basic cuts and get your hair trimmed. If you’re a woman in need of new makeup to complete your look, skip the department stores and head to the drugstore.

Not all administrative assistants are required to dress in business attire at work. However, when it’s time for your annual review, dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Whether you want to move from a clerical support position to executive assistant, or you have your eye on another position, you need a business suit. According to a recent article on, if you’re looking for a nice suit and you’re on a budget, Kohl’s is the place to shop. The article compares the cost of business attire from upscale department stores such as Nordstrom to the cost of business attire at mass-market retailers, such as Kohl’s—and there’s a vast price difference. For example, you can purchase a two-piece women’s pantsuit from Kohl’s for about $96, but a suit jacket from J. Crew could cost you up to $300.

While there’s a vast cost difference between Kohl’s, J. Crew, and Nordstrom, it doesn’t mean that Kohl’s is the only store with good deals on business attire. Macy’s, JCPenney, and Walmart also carry a wide range of business clothing. Keep in mind that it’s as important to compare the quality of the items you purchase as it is the cost. In order to determine the type of outfit that’s right for your annual review, consider what your coworkers—in particular, those in positions one level above yours—wear to work. For example, if you provide clerical support for a small department and are allowed to dress casually, a suit from a discount retail establishment might be a good choice. However, if your company requires administrative personnel to dress in business-casual attire, opt for a suit from a department store.

Ultimately, make sure you are completely put together and wearing professional attire during your annual review. If you look professional, your boss will treat you as a professional. When you walk into your annual review in professional attire, it shows your boss that you’re serious about your job and you’re willing to implement any job performance tips he or she gives you to help you achieve your career goals.

Nancy Anderson is the communities and article Editor for  Nancy has 10 years’ experience in the online job search business with Beyond.  Nancy’s team produces dozens of articles every month for top internet sites.  Follow Nancy and the Beyond team on


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