• Why image building is a big part of career building for women

    Imagine you’re about to pitch your business idea to a new investor. How long do you think you have to impress the people on the other side of the desk? Until the end of the presentation, or only until the end of your first answer to their questions? What if I told you that your prospective investor had made up his mind before you had time to finish your introduction?

    First Impressions

    It takes 3-5 seconds for you to make a first impression. Yes, it only takes seconds for someone to judge if they want to know more about you or reject you. We can see it for yourselves in our daily lives too.

    For example, if you were to choose one of the following candidates as a prospective employee for a banking front desk job, who would you pick?

    First impressions


    Most of us would pick the 2nd one, wouldn’t we? Now look at the pictures carefully: both images are of the same person. This is a perfect example of how clothes also communicate.

    Also read: Gender does not matter in investigative journalism, says Rana Ayyub

    Visual Communication

    The truth is, over 80% of your communication is non-verbal.

    3 distinct elements combine to create personal appearance or visual image:

    • Clothing, including accessories
    • Grooming: hygiene, hair, skin, nail care, makeup
    • Body language: body posture, eye contact, facial expressions, manners and etiquette

    Together these elements create a unique image of you, a first impression. An impression based on appearance is automatic and instantaneous. At any given point of time, we cannot NOT communicate.

    Image Cycle

    We have all heard this adage – dress for the career you want and not the one you have. The clothes you wear, your personal style, speaks volumes about the kind of person you are and where you want to go.

    Not only that, the way you dress impacts the way YOU think and feel as well. When you dress well and feel good, it reflects in your body language and your work. That is why so many women use power dressing strategies to assert their confidence, authority, and power.

    For example, simply add a 3rd layer (jacket, blazer, or suit) to your outfit and it changes the tone of communication and the way people approach you.

    Also read: Communication: The Nucleus Of a Successful Career

    Image Cycle

    Key Situations

    The message you create with your clothing and appearance is important in three general situations:

    • When the other person does not know you
    • Any time you want to influence the opinion or action of another person
    • When your mood or confidence needs a boost

    Your image – the way you care for yourself, the clothes you wear, your personal style, your poise and presence – is part of who you are and affects the way you think, feel, act, and live. Your personal appearance reflects your personality, values, attitudes, interests, roles, and goals.

    It is not a matter of vanity or frivolity. It’s a matter of good sense, self-worth, and provident living.

    Also read: Secure in my skin, but not my clothes?

    Clothing and image management is one of the fastest and most effective ways to build self-confidence, to reflect ability, and to increase credibility. Effective image management aids you in achieving your personal and professional goals.

    Feature Image Credit: women2.com

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