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Throughout our professional lives, we’re constantly reminded about the importance of nonverbal communication. It makes up around 90 percent of all communication, meaning it’s essential to pay attention to it. The way you look and act, even before words come out of your mouth, is a huge part of your personal brand. How you dress and how you act say a lot about you as a professional.
How to dress
Whether you’re at a job interview, networking event, or simply in the office, how you dress says a lot about you. In all of these situations, it’s important to dress appropriately and professionally. Business attire is a must.
Men should wear a solid color suit with a long sleeved shirt, tie, belt, dark socks, and polishable shoes. Your hair should be neat and professional, and your nails should be trimmed.
Women should also stick to a solid color suit (pants, skirt, or dress is up to you). You should also wear conservative shoes, avoiding heels if you can’t walk in them. Your hair should also be neat and professional, and you should limit yourself to very basic jewelry and makeup.
These instructions are especially important for interviews and networking events. It’s better to dress up than to be the only one in the room dressed too casually.
When it comes to dressing for the office, the rules change depending on your workplace. However, in all professions, it’s essential to continue to dress professionally. Even if you’re allowed to wear jeans to work, you should always stick to conservative shirts and shoes. If you want your brand to say you’re very professional, you need to look the part.
The saying goes, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” If you want to be taken seriously in your career, it starts with what you wear.
Remember, dress for success!
How to act
In addition to your look, the way you carry yourself is also an essential part of your brand. Your body language carries just as much weight as your appearance in nonverbal communication.
One of the easiest ways to improve your body language is to smile. In every professional situation, it’s important to smile because a smile makes you appear more friendly and welcoming. Whether you’re networking or interviewing, a smile will draw people to you and they’ll want to learn more about you. If you forget to smile, they’ll be turned off and not want to hear what you have to say. A smile opens so many doors.
Additionally, your posture is also essential to strong body language. This means you should stand (or sit) straight with your shoulders back. Additionally, maintain eye contact with whomever you’re speaking. Good posture like this says you’re honest and confident.
When you combine your professional attire with a professional attitude, your personal brand will definitely benefit. Your appearance tells others that you’re capable of taking on whatever task you’re given. Others will be drawn to you because you seem confident and successful. Back this up with intelligent things to say, and you’re golden.
What are some other things your look says about your personal brand?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.