Employers like smart employees in all senses of the word, not only do you need to be on top of your work, have great inter-personal skills but you need to be smart in appearance. This has never been truer than in the current economic situation were many employers have to review their staff numbers. Now is a good time to assess yourself and see how far you fulfil the criteria of 'employee of choice'.
A good place to start this review of yourself is to consider your role in the organization. Imagine a job description for your role. It has been found that the following three factors are important when a new appointment is made:
Verbal and written communication skills
Next very honestly match yourself against these and then consider just why you consider that you are better than anyone else at doing this. Think especially about how your body language communicates how you feel about your job. Work on having a positive attitude as this will be picked up by all those that you work with. What you wear has a big effect on this positive attitude. When your clothes feel 'right' then your body language is more positive and you will look and sound more confident.
Think very carefully about the first impression that you give to people. Spend some time thinking through a normal day. How do you arrive? Are you enthusiastic or does your body language convey 'I don't really want to be here.'? How do you greet people you know well; again is it a positive greeting, or do you take everything for granted? Are you well organised and making the most of your time?
Think about your role in the organisation, if you have a management role then do you portray this all the time? It takes only a few seconds for some-one to make a first impression of you and this can have a long-term effect. Make sure that your visual first impression matches what you will be saying. People tend to remember how you look on a first meeting, rather than your first words.
Think about your communication skills. How confident are you when meeting people? Does the thought of a networking meeting fill you with horror or are you pleased at the opportunity for new contacts? At this time you need be able to stand out from the crowd and show that you have what it takes to add real value to your organisation.
Think about your dress? What is the image of your organisation? Do you portray this image? For example if you work for a 'creative' company would that be clear to a client meeting you? Take a critical look at yourself in a full length mirror. If possible ask a partner or close friend to take a digital photograph of you. This makes it much easier to see yourself as others see you. What do you notice first? Are the colours of your clothes flattering to your own colouring? Look at the style of your clothes? Are they suitable for what you do? Next consider the fit, check skirt length and trouser length. Look out for wrinkles and pulling, particularly at buttons. If you wear a jacket does it fit well at the shoulders If you are not happy with the look, work on improving it and then have another photograph taken.
Then look at your grooming, work from top to toe and ensure that you are happy with what you see. If not, decide how to improve in this area. A change of hairstyle, following a discussion on face shape with your hairdresser can make a remarkable difference, not just to how you look but to how you feel about yourself. Again this will affect the overall confidence with which you carry out your work.
Why not have a style and image consultation to smarten up your personal image? An image consultant, trained for corporate clients will be able to advise on all aspects of personal business image, including giving the right first impression, communication skills, business etiquette. Or arrange for your company to have an image consultant work with a number of employees. How others perceive your whole business is directly influenced by the personal image of individual employees and this is vitally important with the current concentration on the 'credit crunch' and the difficult times we now find ourselves in.