Have you ever wondered what role your image plays in positioning yourself for a career opportunity? You have probably heard the term “dress for success”. This week’s podcast is with Catherine Bell, Canada’s Image Coach and author of “Managing Your Image Potential: Creating Good Impressions in Business”. I would encourage you to listen to the podcast as Catherine shares some excellent practical advice. Did you realize that dress, presentation and packaging really do matter in an interview or getting promoted in your current situation? “Ah”, you say. “That is not fair!” And, correct you are, but as Malcolm Gladwell described in his book “Blink”, this ability is known as “listening with your eyes.” Most of the decisions of whether you are going to get hired or even promoted are NOT related to what comes out of your mouth, but how you dress, your body language, posture, mannerisms and even your height. (A majority of Fortune 500 CEOs are 6 ft. or taller). According to a study by Syracuse University and Total Executive Inc. of 300 executive recruiters, CEOs and HR professionals, how you dress is the third most important attribute in getting hired. A majority of working professionals don’t believe that image really does matter, otherwise, they would invest more time and resources in this area.
According to Catherine, there are 5 common mistakes and 5 key tips to ensure that your image is in alignment with your message and the role that you are targeting.
The 5 common mistakes are:
1. Shoes are not polished – Shoes give people a number of clues – attention to detail and your economic situation.
2. Garments are not ironed – A creased shirt or blouse becomes a barrier to communication and it causes an immediate distraction.
3. Having a bad hair day – We have all been there.
4. Wearing fragrance – A great way to create distraction during an interview is to wear fragrance, especially in an enclosed space.
5. Body language distractions – Avoid twisting your ring or clicking your pen, and refrain from incessantly jiggling your leg.
The 5 keys to a successful image are:
1. Wear a tailored jacket – Tailored clothing will always create more presence and power (even for women).
2. Make sure your clothing fits impeccably – When you are comfortable, it shows!
3. Choose your colors carefully – Color communicates power, dependability and openness.
4. Animate your voice – When you are nervous, the muscles in your throat tighten.
5. Respect, responsibility and reliability – Arrive early and be aware of how you interact with the person at reception.
We all agree you cannot work on your height; however, you can pay attention to these small things. The reality is we do judge a book by its cover. Catherine said, “First impressions really do matter, especially in a competitive marketplace.”
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Dressing for success, along the road with you!