SUCCEED WITH STYLE: Substance vs. Style
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
I have discovered that combining the two actually brings success. On many occasions, I would hear a high-level executive express concern about a rising star in the organization. They would be excited about the candidate’s potential but concerned about their executive presence. Theybelieved that to be successful you needed to have substance to get the job done and deliver results but you also needed to look the part to be taken seriously. I read a story recently where a young woman had made a job change to a new company. She was hired as a director and decided it was time for her appearance and image to match that position.
She started her new role wearing suits and jackets instead of casual pants and button-down shirts. Almost immediately, she noticed a difference in how she and her work were being treated. Her ideas were being accepted on her first presentation instead of on the third or fourth as was common in her previous company. She attributed the change to the difference in her image. She looked confident, credible and serious about her role as a higher-level executive.
If you want to move forward in your career faster or have your ideas accepted sooner, follow these tips.
1. Ask a trusted colleague what their first impression of you was when they saw you present for the first time. An objective perspective is critical in determining what you need to modify or change.
2. If your working environment is extremely casual, be the one who kicks it up a notch or two. Add an unconstructed jacket, a higher heal or a stylish dress. You can be casual, comfortable and professional at the same time.
3. Focus on quality fabrics. Invest in tropical wools. They can be worn almost all year round and they always look good.
4. Details counts. Make sure your clothes are free of stains, fraying or loose buttons.
5. Press your clothes and make sure your shoes are well kept.
6. Don’t arrive at the office with wet hair. Nothing says unprofessional and unprepared like wet, un-styled hair. The first thing that comes to mind for me is time management issues with laziness.
7. Don’t be afraid to look the part. Just because your peers choose to dress like it’s the weekend, it doesn’t mean you have to too. In the office, you always want to look like you’re ready for business.
8. If you are a designer, then look creative. Mix patterns and textures and try unexpected color combinations. Keep it professional but make it interesting.
9. If your business is retail or fashion, look like you are on top of the trends.
10. Even if you work in a call-center, you should dress professionally. Just because the customers can’t see you, it doesn’t mean others in the organization don’t notice you. If you want to move forward in your company you should look like you are serious about your job.
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