Your ability to create positive personal impact is an important key to your life and career success. Last year, Lydia Ramsey and I released a career advice book called Success Tweets for Creating Positive Personal Impact. You can get a copy at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_12?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=success+tweets+for+creating+positive+personal+impact&sprefix=success+twee/
First impressions are a big part of creating positive personal impact. Here are my 18 best tips on how to create a favorable first impression.
1. Remember that “business” is the first and most important word in the phrase “business casual”. Dress like you’re going to work, not to a sporting event.
2. Dress appropriately for your work situation. It is usually hard to be overdressed. Error on the side of caution if you don’t know what is appropriate. Observe successful people in your organization. What do they wear? Dress like them.
3. Dedicate time and money to your business wardrobe. Purchase your clothing according to a well thought out plan. You can stretch your clothing budget by getting things on sale, but only if you have a plan.
4. Learn your company’s unwritten dress code. Make sure you conform. Show the world how creative you are in your off work hours.
5. Buy the highest quality clothes that you can afford. This will pay off in the long run. High quality clothes look better and wear longer. Buy blazers first. Blazers are an important staple of a business casual wardrobe –for both men and women. Every business person should have one black and one navy blue blazer.
6. Keep your clothes looking good. Find and use a good dry cleaner. Make sure your blazer buttons are all there, and that the lining of your skirt doesn’t hang down below the hem.
7. Leave your jeans for the weekends. They may be acceptable at your place of work, but well pressed khakis look a lot better.
8. Make sure your shoes are shined and in good repair. Run down heels, and holes in your soles give a poor impression. A good shoe shine puts a bounce in your step. It helps your confidence.
9. Wear jewelry that is understated, not gaudy. Save the bling for parties and clubs. This is true for men as well as women.
10. Freshen your breath with the strips that have become common in the past few years. Don’t chew gum. Ever. It makes you look like a cow.
11. Keep your hands looking good – if you bite your nails, stop. Men don’t need to get manicures, but your nails should be neatly trimmed. Women should avoid manicures that draw a lot of attention to their nails.
12. Wear minimal amounts of after shave, cologne or perfume. You want people to remember you for what you have to say, not how you smell.
13. Wash your hair daily. Dirty hair can have a bad odor. Clean hair prevents dandruff. It helps you look well groomed. Comb your hair several times a day – especially after coming in from outdoors. A quick look in the mirror will show you just how windblown your hair can get, even on a day that is not particularly windy. Have your hair cut and styled regularly. Your hair stylist is your friend. Visit him or her as often as necessary to keep you looking sharp.
14. Stand or sit up straight. Don’t slouch. Your mother was right. Good posture is important. It makes you look more self confident.
15. When traveling, pack so you will look good on arrival. Don’t over pack your suitcase. You might get a few more things in, but you’ll end up with a lot of wrinkled clothes.
16. Cover your clothes in plastic cleaner bags when you pack.. Friction causes wrinkling, plastic reduces friction. Pack your hanger items in individual bags (one outfit per dry-cleaner bag). Use zip-top baggies dirty shoes, shampoo bottles, or anything else you want to isolate from your good clothes.
17. Fold your sweaters and shirts before you put them in your suitcase. Button all buttons and lay the shirt or sweater face down on a bed or flat surface. Smooth away wrinkles. Fold it at the shoulders and lay arms flat along the body so that you create a roughly two-inch overlap of material on both sides. Then fold up a third of the material from the bottom and overlap a third from the top.
18. Use inexpensive mesh laundry bags to stow your underwear when traveling. If your bag is inspected, no one will touch your underwear since an inspector will be able to see into the bag. Roll your socks and place them inside your shoes; or use them to fill gaps in your bag.
The career success coach point here is simple common sense. First impressions go a long way in helping you create positive personal impact – an important career success move. Follow the 18 tips in this post and you will create a lasting, positive first impression.
That’s my career advice on creating a positive first impression. What do you think? Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment. As always, thanks for reading my daily musings on life and career success. I value you and I appreciate you.
PS: If you haven’t already done so, please download a free copy of my popular career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained. One is 140 bits of career advice, all in 140 characters or less. The other is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail. Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy. You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.
PPS: I opened a membership site on September 1,2012. It’s called My Corporate Climb and is devoted to helping people create career success inside large corporations. You can find out about the membership site by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.