How to Build an Image that will Get you the Position you Desire
“Dress as if you mean business. Coco Chanel once said that if a woman is poorly dressed you notice the clothes, if she’s well dressed you notice the woman.” Vikki Worthington
We talk a lot about image these days but what does it really mean and how can you use it to your advantage at work, interviews, progressing in your career, your vocation or business, when networking or joining a new social circle?
Your image is the impression of yourself that you project to others, it’s how they see and acknowledge you.
When talking about building an image, I want to clarify that this doesn’t suggest you become phoney or superficial but you reinforce your qualities, accomplishments and tell the world who you are, what you want and what you have to offer.
If you are struggling with this aspect, the uncomfortable truth is that people won’t ask you or give you what you want, unless you take the initiative and tell them.
It took me years to ascertain this idea as many of us, especially women, are brought up to believe we should not ask for what we want, that it’s inappropriate and pushy. Building an image that supports what you’re doing and enhances your business or career is nothing to do with being pushy – on the contrary, people would see you as confident, gracious and intelligent person and they would be more willing to openly give you what you want or negotiate with you.
In essence – be yourself, but be sure to promote an image that does you justice and fits your ambitions.
Let’s dig deeper and see how we can do this. According to research studies, the ways we receive messages from people fall into three categories:
- 55% appearance
- 38% voice
- 7% words
More than half of the impression you create is in how you look.
We are all aware of this and some of us consciously try to create an impression on certain occasions.
Here is a short questionnaire from ‘Springboard’,
a Women’s programme for Professional and Personal Development I’ve recently completed, to help you judge if your image is contributing to achieving your goals:
1 – urgently needs attention
2 – making it difficult
3 – some improvement would help
4 – neither positive or negative
5 – helping rather than hindering – but it could be improved
6 – positive impact
7 – perfect – it is in line with values and goals.
Using this legend, score the following items of your image from 1-7:
clothes: shoes: hair:
tidiness⃞ tidiness ⃞ style ⃞
style⃞ style ⃞ colour ⃞
quality⃞ quality ⃞
age⃞ age ⃞
glasses⃞ accessories ⃞ handbag ⃞
jewellery⃞ nails ⃞ make-up ⃞
weight⃞ height ⃞ posture ⃞
cleanliness⃞ smile ⃞ facial expression ⃞
sparkle in the eyes⃞ zest and energy ⃞ positive words ⃞
work place: networks: blog ⃞
tidiness⃞ Facebook ⃞ Twitter ⃞
style⃞ LinkedIn ⃞ Instagram ⃞
Is this the impression that you want to create?
Congratulate yourself for the aspects of your image you’re doing well on and think of ways to improve those that are not so satisfactory. This takes time and effort and it could also involve a certain financial investment, as well as commitment to keep improving and maintaining your new image.
You might face the challenge that you want to completely change your style, get a new hairstyle, get fit, start using make-up or become more tech-saavy.
I encourage you to see this as a long-term process, to take small steps given your current stage in life and persevere. Keep this in mind:
‘Dress not for your current role but for the role you want to achieve next.’
I wish you best of luck at your job interviews, promotion negotiations, business launch or networking event – you are wonderful, with unique talents and abilities, so don’t be shy and let them shine through a well-presented image of yourself!
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