Image Matters – How to Present Yourself
The prolific writer Mark Twain once said, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” Impressions are critical in any business setting – how you project and present yourself matters. The image you present to the world is not just about what you wear, it’s also about body language and your personal brand. This is especially important at interviews, networking events, and other places that you are likely to meet a prospective employer.
You have sixty seconds to make a first impression, so make it count!
5 Initial Steps to Creating a Personal Brand shows you how to create your brand, but you also have to explore appearance – clothing and body language – not physical attractiveness. Answering the following questions raises your awareness of the subtleties of image that can give a job seeker an edge.
Do you exude confidence? If you were in a position of power and influence, would you give yourself the ‘time of day’? How is your posture, are you standing straight or slouching? When you shake someone’s hand, is it a firm handshake? When speaking to others, do you look them straight in the eyes, hanging on to their every word? Do you use positive language? How do you present your ideas to others to get buy-in?
How do you interact with others, do you treat them with kindness? Are you known as the person who is always willing to offer a helping hand? Are you authentic? Are you aware of how you come across to others? Are you memorable?
Are there new rules for dressing for a first interview? Do we still dress to the nines in a first interview (as we did only a few years ago)? What does business casual mean in the face of a first interview? Does dress down Friday have an impact? Do we purposefully overdress first time out? Is there an excuse NOT to wear a dress/suit? How would you dress for a University job interview? A plant tour? A dinner? When is it too much? Too much fragrance, too much plunging neckline, too much silk tie, too much cuff links/French cuffs?
These are many questions without answers, but keep in mind that someone is always watching you, and present yourself in the way you want to be seen – image matters. And remember the Mark Twain quote, in addition to the other subtleties of image.