By Doreen Dove
Imagine with me for a moment... You just got the opportunity of a lifetime. This is the opportunity you have been waiting for. Maybe you...
- Are launching a new empty-nest business
- Are re-launching a career that has been on hold
- Are reaching for a higher position within your company
- Have the opportunity to land a million dollar client
- Are ready to start mentoring others
- Or are simply ready for the next chapter of your life
The only thing you need to do is meet with key individuals who can determine if this opportunity becomes a reality. On the day that you are scheduled to meet with those decision makers, you feel confident and well dressed, despite having struggled with your closet, your clothing choices, your hair, your makeup, and even your shoes. The meeting goes as planned.
And then...nothing. No return phone calls. No e-mails.
You find out weeks later that they didn't choose you because they said you didn't project the right image. You are stunned that your image isn't impacting the outcome of your dreams. It was like the opportunity you were waiting for literally got blown away.
Here's the big news, ladies.
The way you present yourself has a profound impact on your relationships and your career. The old adage, "You can't judge a book by its cover," really only applies to books because unfortunately, you are judged by your cover, your appearance, your personal hygiene, your wardrobe, your costume.
No doubt you have all heard it before - you have 15 seconds to make a first impression. Why do you not think it applies to you?
This is the opening act of your future. When that curtain opens on stage and you, the actor, appear, the audience immediately forms an opinion of you based on your wardrobe (your costume). They don't have the option of stripping you down to see what a fabulous woman you are. They have formed their judgment within 15 seconds. And it's not just what your hair looks like, or your voice, or your presence. It's what you're wearing, the colors you choose, your attention to detail, and how you package yourself.
If you're a professional or a professional wanna-be, every second counts, from the interview to the daily job, the networking to the meetings, and even the potential for advancement. Many entrepreneurs who are building a business through networking know how important every component of branding is, right down to your LinkedIn profile picture, your business cards, your Facebook page, your Twitter profile, every single component of your marketing collateral. That first impression lasts forever.
You may know all of this but are looking for the motivation to make the change, update the look, and even change the attitude towards you so that others will as well. People are motivated to make a change usually for two reasons: either to seek pleasure or avoid pain. I find that most of my clients come to me for coaching because the pain of their issue isn't tolerable anymore. They start to think about what it's costing them not to make a change. What is it costing you not to do it? Are you not attracting the right partner or the perfect clients? Are you being looked over for promotions? Do you want to launch a new business or start a new career?
The Top 5 Steps To Refresh Your ImagePerform a closet edit, audit, purge, cleanse - whatever you want to term it.
You simply have to turn on the light, pry open the door and take all of the crap out. If you are not hiring a professional, just use your gut, your intuition and your common sense. If the clothing is outdated, out of style, the wrong size, or even the wrong character for your new role, get it the heck out of there! If you find that the only thing you ever reach for are your black pants and they are at the dry cleaner and you are now experiencing a melt down, then you may need to shop for a few things!
Buy 6 things!
Decide what items you need to purchase to get the wagon rolling to Wonderland. This could be as basic as a great fitting black skirt or black pant (so there isn't drama when they are at the dry cleaners), a new pair of pumps, a crisp new white blouse, a tweedy well-tailored jacket or sweater jacket, a rockin' statement necklace and a new bag.
Boom - you are dressed for success. Untie the wagon.
Change your hairdo - is hairdo still even a term?
Take a good look in the mirror then take a look at perhaps your college graduation or wedding picture - if the hair is the same, it is time for a change! Go to a new hairdresser for a consult - see what someone else, who doesn't know you from Adam, would do to make you look stunning. Fresh eyes equal fresh ideas.
Change up your skincare and makeup regimen.
OMG - stop using soap, start using an eye cream and dump all of your makeup out on the counter and be honest with yourself! You probably have stuff that is outdated, the wrong color, makes your skin look like a pancake and the shadows were probably a better color match before your hair tone changed (any silver foxes out there)? Newsflash - if you didn't change both your clothing colors and your makeup colors when your skin tone or hair color changed, you are wearing the wrong colors! You won't believe the difference the right skincare and makeup will make - years will literally fall off your face!
Get a professional headshot.
There's nothing worse than looking at a LinkedIn profile and seeing someone else's shoulder abutment because you couldn't quite crop them out. Seriously? Get with the program. You should be well dressed (at least from the waist up), well groomed (styled hair), well polished (current makeup), your teeth should be relatively white (can you spell Crest White Strips?), your eyeglasses should not have come from CVS (reasons why are too numerous to list here) and well lit (not from a nip of Jack, but rather soft lighting like Angela Lansbury in Murder She Wrote). Are you getting the drift here? A professional headshot is a must, whether you are a professional or a wanna-be. And BTW, you will not be paying wedding portfolio prices here - it is just a headshot!
Life is challenging, but we have to get dressed. Get dressed for the role you want to be playing, which may not be the role you currently have! Step into your new zone and proceed with confidence.
Remember - confidence is always in style!
Doreen Dove (www.doreendove.com)
empowers women to use style as a tool to take strategic control of their image. She is an image consultant, personal stylist and professional speaker. Her extensive background in all aspects of retail has uniquely qualified her to work with women of all ages and professions, coaching them to personal style success.
Doreen is the author of the book, Confidence Is Always In Style, a savvy style guide for taking strategic control of your image. She is offering a promotional $10 discount on her book to the WITI community through April 1, 2017. Use the code WITIBN at www.DoreenDove.com/author.
A variation of this article was previously published
on the author's website.