Whether you’re preparing for an upcoming job interview, a professional networking event, a career fair, an important meeting or conference, or dinner with clients or potential employers, you need to look your best.
But how do you define “looking your best?” What should you wear, and how should you prepare your overall appearance? What matters most when it comes to appearance, and what will employers and your professional contacts really remember about you?
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- Always be comfortable.
That being said, don’t wear yoga pants or sweats. You want to appear professional, but you don’t want to be slouchy. If in doubt, dress up (not down). Suits are almost always appropriate for workplace and professional events.
That being said, do your best to purchase clothing (or have clothing tailored) which fits you really well. If you’re uncomfortable, you will be completely unable to focus on important people and conversations. You’ll be focused, instead, on how tight your pants are, whether your neckline is plunging too low, or comparing your new very tight and uncomfortable dress to the other very tight and uncomfortable new dresses in the room.
Don’t do that.
Invest (moderately) in a few key pieces of professional clothing. These pieces should fit you well, be tailored to your body, and mix and match with separates which you can dress up or down.
And let’s not forget shoes. Never–I repeat, NEVER–wear uncomfortable shoes to a networking event, work function, or site visit/tour of a facility. Your feet will thank you.
2. Focus on who you are instead of what you look like; content matters.
If you struggle with feeling egotistical or self-conscious, you may have difficulty with this one. The more you can let go of your thoughts related to your own appearance and focus instead on the content of the conversation, the more likely you will have a great time. The more you can ignore your own appearance and enjoy yourself, the more likely those around you will enjoy being around you, too. Like attracts like.
People who enjoy themselves and exude joy attract happy, joyful, positive people. Be that person at networking events, interviews, career fairs, and conferences. Strike up conversations about interesting social issues, current events, and your own life. Ask your colleagues and new connections about their own lives, personally and professionally. The more you focus on content (instead of packaging), the deeper the relationships you’ll build. And if you’re trying to land a job or connect with people who may know about great job leads, this is really significant!
Don’t obsess about your physical assets. Let that stuff go.
Certainly wear flattering clothing and practice good hygiene. But rather than focusing on physical assets, play up your character assets. This is the stuff that gets you hired.
For more networking tips, branding suggestions, and hiring secrets, reach out to me for a free consultation.
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