In today’s business environment, judgments are made in the blink of an eye. As an entry level professional or a top executive, your image matters. Regardless of where you are in your career, you can ensure effectiveness in keeping up your professional image by following these five tips.

Appear Visible

Are you wearing your personal power colours that help you command attention? You may want to be a dynamic professional. However, if you find that your career is not progressing the way you had planned, one question to ask is this. Colour is a powerful business tool that you do not want to overlook as you develop your professional image. The fashion colours this season may or may not be your friends.

Get your colours professionally done to ensure every bright, neutral or pastel colour you put on is sending the message you want it to send. You will find that when you wear the colours that are best for you, you will get more attention, be taken more seriously and, perhaps, best of all, you will feel more confident.

Dress Office Appropriate

Whether you interact with the public or not, what you wear affects the way you think, which in turn affects the way you act and ultimately, affects how others respond and relate to you.

The personal assets you highlight when socializing with friends are best kept undercover while at work. What message is being sent if clothing is too tight, low cut or too short? Even if it is the trend, it is not appropriate in an office environment, and some people will not take you seriously. No matter how proud you are that your workouts are paying off, showing too much skin will work against you in a coed work environment.

In warmer climates, open-toed shoes that expose more than the tips of your first two toes should be saved for the weekend. Bare legs and arms send a casual message that may not serve your career goals.

 Even on “Casual Friday,” do not get too casual – skip the T-shirt and worn out jeans. Wearing a jacket, or a coloured shawl will help you communicate authority and will be remembered. The third piece is your “power piece.” It completes your look and is an important part of your wardrobe.

Fashion Trends Do you find that you gravitate to the ‘have-tohaves’ of the season? This may be a challenge as time goes on because you will continually have to update your wardrobe. By choosing timeless pieces, you can bring in a new piece to mix-and-match with your current wardrobe without breaking the bank every season.

If you really want to be fashion forward from 9am-5pm, consider wearing only one trend piece at a time. This way you will still look current and hip without looking like you care more about fashion than looking professional.

Accessories or No Accessories

At work, your accessories should complete and complement your outfit, not be attention grabbers themselves. Still, do not be afraid to wear one statement jewelry piece or bold accessory – just not several at the same time. A great handbag or briefcase can polish your outfit to perfection. However, four necklaces, six bracelets and a big buckle belt will be a bit much for any outfit, and will send the wrong message at the office.

This also applies to your makeup – wear makeup, but do not overdo it. Your makeup is also an accessory – it should be fresh and should polish your look. Keep the adventurous accessories and dramatic makeup for your personal evening activities.

A Dated Hairdo

Nothing says, “I am not on the cutting edge of my profession” quicker than an out-dated hair style. Keep your hair style current. If you are sporting a look from another era, it is probably time to update that look. Consult your hairstylist to find out the best possible looks for your face shape, hair texture and skin tone.

Try flipping through different magazines and find a style that you like. An updated hairdo can give you a whole new level of confidence.

Select one or two of the tips above to focus on over the next few weeks and make the necessary adjustments to your professional image. You will see results and garner the respect and attention you deserve, while having more confidence in the way you present yourself professionally.

by Suzain Dodoo


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