According to a Princeton University study, people subconsciously infer various characteristics about your personality and work ethic within one tenth of a second. These first impressions affect how your co-workers, boss, and prospective hiring managers view your likability, trustworthiness, and competence.
Beyond first impressions, your professional image continues to impact how you’re perceived at work and has a profound effect on your promotability. This makes it incredibly important to cultivate an impressive and competent professional image.
Here are some pointers on creating good habits to increase your personal appeal and give you an added edge in landing your next position.
1. Look the part
You’ve probably heard the old saying: “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” While you may have written this off as just something people say, there’s some tangible truth to it. In a survey of over 2,000 hiring and human resource managers, nearly half said that a “shabby” appearance influences how likely they are to promote someone.
No matter what your office dress code is, it’s important that your clothing is top quality. Invest in quality pieces that form the base of your working wardrobe. Go for classic designs that won’t go out of style season to season, and stay trendy with less expensive seasonal accessories to enhance the look. Observe what the people in your company who have the job you want wear to work everyday, and then adjust your wardrobe accordingly.
Along with your wardrobe, your physical appearance is also important in conveying professionalism. Going the extra mile in proper self-care is a great way to enhance your natural features and upgrade your personal appearance.
Proper, quality self-care requires an investment of your time to cultivate sustainable habits. Simply finding the time to remember small grooming details is a great place to start. Beyond this, things like a regular sleep schedule, a well-balanced diet, taking the time for exercise, and managing oral health are all essential aspects of self-care. While self-care can require an investment of your time, the benefits to your overall image and well-being are worth it.
2. Practice positive body language
Your body language is an essential element of your overall image, as positive body language forms a solid impression with others. The difference between positive and negative body language is often subtle and can take a conscious effort to correct. Positive body language is marked by confidence and open posture.
Being confident is important in instilling a level of trust and respect with your colleagues. Oftentimes, taking steps to improve your wardrobe and physical appearance results in a boost of confidence without any more effort on your part. The ability to maintain eye contact when talking with your colleagues is another subtle way to improve your projected confidence.
Open posture means keeping the front of your body open and exposed without crossing your arms. Always face the person who’s speaking and square your body directly toward others. An open posture helps to indicate friendliness, openness, and a willingness to help.
3. Stay positive and friendly
“You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” is another old saying with a lot of truth to it. Once you have your appearance down, another important aspect of your professional image is your likeability.
Likeability is primarily linked with happiness. Happy people experience more popularity and are perceived as more being attractive. It’s easier for your colleagues to relate to you when you’re smiling and appear to be happy. Never let your personal life affect your demeanor at work. If you’re having a bad day, make an effort to “fake it till you make it.”
Also, acts of kindness are an easy, feel-good way of increasing your social capital at work. Make an effort to give at least one sincere compliment a day, and always greet people with a smile and kind pleasantries. Making sure that it’s a sincere compliment is important, because people can pick up on insincerity, which can be even worse than not giving a compliment at all.
Capri is an advocate for personal health and wellness with a mission to empower others to take control of their health in order to excel in all areas of life.
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