“A picture paints a thousand words.”
There’s a lot of truth to that old saying…In fact, it’s a mouthful to digest.
This was actually derived from an original Chinese proverb, “Hearing something a hundred times isn’t better than seeing it once.” And there is wisdom, truth and guidance for us all in this idiom. In my experience assisting thousands of personal clients with career planning and corporate clients with recruiting and talent acquisition, I have seen everything from the ridiculous to the sublime in terms of online profiles, head shots and professional attire. Let’s highlight a few things from both sides of this equation that require some introspection and attention.
- Online Profiles – Employers are looking!
In today’s hyper-aware, social media environment, there are challenges everywhere. I am not an apologist for being tough, genuine and honest. I am not a proponent of over-thought political correctness or raising the specter of soft-minded stands on destroying cultural norms. That said, in our quest for a career opportunity, we should be aware of the content we generate and the very public nature of our profiles. Stand for what and who you believe in. I am asking you to take a hard, honest look at ALL of your online profiles. In short, if you speak up, check-up, clean up and then chances are much better that you’ll go up.
- Head Shots – Invest a little, because you will be seen a lot!
When reviewing a candidate’s online profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, I am dismayed, and at times alarmed, at some of the photos published. This is a critical piece of Personal Branding and a small investment of a professional head shot photo goes a long way and can be used in multiple ways. Finding a quality local photographer to handle this for you is easy, so invest a small amount for a bigger presence! Show you best self in terms of a fresh, market-appropriate haircut or styling, keep any make-up in balance, and wear simpler colors without busy patterns. Clean lines and colors with a contrasting, professional background always “pops” off the photo more effectively. There are volumes of online information on prepping for your head shot, so search and you will find!
- “My father always said, people will believe anything…if you’re properly dressed!” – Charles Dickens from the film The Man Who Invented Christmas
Two very personal examples of presenting professionally in the marketplace are my dad and grandfather, both were crisp, sharp dressers. Each was known for it, but even more impactful to me is that they were both remembered for that distinct quality! Still to this day, when I run into someone who either knew them well or only met them once, the first comment is about how well they dressed. First impressions, both good and bad, can be eternal. It speaks volumes about your self-perception and your perceived standing in the business world. This rule of market is equally applicable to both men and women in business. Take the time to research, learn and understand the basics of business casual and business formal, what’s acceptable, where and when. Show the marketplace your very best self in terms of appearance when it matters most. That character trait will always serve you well.
Now, regarding your investment in a business wardrobe, I will quote the indomitable George Zimmer of MensWearhouse, “You don’t need to spend a million dollars to look like a million dollars!” You can find outstanding apparel, shoes and accessories to pull a smart, business appropriate wardrobe together by being diligent about your search. Initially, it is OK to blend some lower quality pieces into your mix to get you to a wardrobe that can carry you through a full week of work. However, once you have accomplished this early goal, it is time to focus on quality over quantity. You can achieve this by considering high-end retailer outlets, consignment shops and annual and semi-annual sale events that most of the cheekier retailers tend to run. This gives you access to top quality apparel and shoes without paying full price! You can buy quality at bargain prices whenever possible. The proper clothing and shoes will very often be two things…timeless in appeal and style, as well as higher quality and longer-lasting. Below are both front-line retail and discount, outlet websites and resources to help you get started or to turn your current closet into a powerhouse of style!
NOTE: These references are for your benefit, and I have received no compensation in advance for sharing these sites.
There are many more sites and resources to help you plan your wardrobe, so have some fun, don’t break the bank and feel free to reach out or send me an email with any questions you may have at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will gladly reply!
In the meantime, remember that paying attention to your appearance can be easy to do, but just as easy to ignore. When you head into the marketplace…Don’t settle for being one of a million, but rather look to stand out like One-in-a-Million!©