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What does your image say about you?

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Today we live in an increasingly visual world where perceptions, impressions and reputation are as valuable to the success of our career as our skills, knowledge and qualifications. Belinda Coaten provides advice to help you identify and project the right image.

What message do you want to create?

Daily the media bombards us with examples from show business of people who have successfully created a great image and sadly some who have failed. These celebrities all have media consultants, brand specialists plus stylists to help them. All of this army of assistance will have spent time defining exactly what messages they want to project out to us, the public.

So while you don’t have media attention 24/7 like the Beckhams, if you want to create a good reputation, brand and first impression, just simply taking some time to think about what messages you want to project will create focus, rather than haphazard verbal and non verbal messages being radiated out to others.

Craft your brand carefully

Choose just three words that you would like people to take away with them when they meet you. What would you like to be known for? How would you like to be described to someone else?

These will form the basis of your brand, and like any good brand, it should give consistent messages at every point of contact.

Your online presence

Today you are more likely to generate an impression based on what people find out about you on the internet than meeting face to face, so check your online presence. Google yourself, what appears in the search engine?

Review your LinkedIn profile, photograph and the groups you belong to. What messages might you pick up from the information detailed here?

Your face to face impression

Imagine you are meeting three new people next week in a work related environment, what will you say to them, how will you describe yourself?

Reflect back to your 3 words and job down possible introductions to reflect these. Then practice saying these out loud in front of a mirror.

Your communication tools

Don’t rely on a pre recorded answer phone message, instead record your own message to portray and inject your style and personality. Think about the content of what you will say, and also the tone of your voice to convey the message.

Once you have recorded it, ask several people to listen to it for you, and ask for their honest feedback on how you come across.

Your dress code

The older we get the less relevant it is to be a follower of fashion, however, in the world of work we need to constantly make sure we are learning and are up to date. The same needs to happen to our wardrobe. So be stylish and current, not a clothes horse. 

Open your wardrobe and review it with a critical eye. Is it bang up to date or a bit tired? Include clothes and accessories in this audit.

Reflect on the dress codes of the organisations you have worked for, were they very formal or very casual? Some of us feel more comfortable in jeans while others can’t work unless they are in a suit. 

Analysing what others are wearing around you and reflecting this in your own clothes means you fit in to the culture and the environment.

Taking these few proactive steps means you will have prepared your image and started to take control and make it work for you in the world of work of today.

Belinda Coaten

By Belinda Coaten

A qualified Careers Coach. She is passionate about supporting people to move on or move up in their career. Combining her HR, personal development and Mindfulness experience to develop people.

Her strength is helping unearth her client’s unique strengths and abilities in order to build their confidence levels. Belinda is fascinated by how our external packaging affects our internal resources.

Her style if very pragmatic, hands on and creative. Delivery is with kindness and a smile!

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