Personal brand can play an important role in helping to influence decision makers and boost your career.
Image matters. If you still think that how we show up is not relevant in the workplace, think again. In a perfect world, you’d be evaluated only for your professional skills and abilities. However, appearance has been listed as second only to qualifications and ability to do a job by CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies as a factor in hiring and promoting employees.
Your image is a powerful asset. How you are perceived plays a huge impact in your career advancement. The difference between portraying a successful image which can lead to success is our capability to influence this perception. Studies show that 30% of women suffer from some sort of anxiety when it comes to their career advancement. One of the biggest issues is lack of confidence regarding their image.
There is definitely more pressure on women regarding their image. This pressure is in addition to women still having to juggle their family and social commitments. This can result in a complex daily routine making it difficult to organise oneself, ensuring we can invest the time to portray the best version of our self.
In my own experience working with professionals from all over the globe, I have seen the importance of taking care of our appearance.
I have learned how we can control the perception of ourselves to others – and, it is important to consider the following:
- First impressions are created in mere seconds and once created they are hard to change;
- Confidence is due, in part, to how we feel about ourselves. This is reflected externally as we walk with a purpose and we feel more like interacting with others when we have it. When we feel less confident we may isolate ourselves and portray a more passive person. This person is less likely to inspire others and provide a notion that we are a very competent professional;
- Finding motivation triggers a positive cycle and perhaps, we finally join the gym or start that diet we have been procrastinating;
- Being purposeful and organised around our image can free you up for doing what you really need to prioritise. Worrying all of the time about whether we have the right clothing can be a big distractor and time waster;
- If we don’t feel comfortable with what we are wearing, not the right fit or the fabric is not comfortable, we can also become distracted in key moments. Our focus will not be immersed in what we are doing, but instead questioning whether we are looking the way we should;
- It’s proven that people who dress better make more money. This notion is related to the previous point. When we are focused, we get more productive and we feel like interacting with others and others will also feel more like relating to ourselves as well; and
- People will respect us more. There is a thought process in the back of our minds when we are judging someone, and the underlying questions are; Can I respect this person? Can I trust this person?
Attaining and sustaining a competitive advantage can result from presenting oneself as unique. In the extremely competitive world we live in, uniqueness is what makes you stand out from the crowd.
We are all now familiar with the term ‘influencer’ as it is very popular right now. Influencers can also be referred to as trend- setters. But we can all be trend-setters. All we have to do is dress impeccably. That’s exactly why people want to follow trend-setters. If we dress for our body type and personality instead of ‘copying’ someone else’s, we position ourselves in a way that sets a trend and establishes a personal style as opposed to simply following others.
I want to finish with one last mechanism that I believe strongly in regarding our creation of a strong personal brand and professional image…our uniqueness!
“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” Coco Chanel
As an ambitious woman, simply wearing the perfect fit that works for your body type and choosing the right style that is reflective of you putting your ‘stamp on it’ is a great start.