You never get a second chance to make that first impression – as the adage goes.  

This is extremely important when you are interviewing.  First impressions are intuitive.  Most of us have some kind of reaction the minute we see or meet someone new.  Even though first impressions are based on a “feeling”, we make all kinds of assumptions based on this initial impression.  What’s worse is that research tells us that even if we are mistaken with our first impression, it has already been formed in our mind and is extremely difficult to change.

Consider this model revealing some amazing statistics about the influential role of one’s physical appearance even while involved in verbal communication.  Non-verbal messages actively transmit from a person’s appearance and mannerisms while he or she is verbally communicating.

Components of Verbal Communication

  • The words we use 7%
  •  Tone, pitch, tempo, volume, emotion 38%
  • Physical/Visual 55!!!

Your clothing, grooming, and posture are an enormous portion of the 55%, representing the physical/visual in your communication.

If you are exclusively invested in your content and you ignore the power of your image, you are missing a critical element of your overall effectiveness.  Anyone can be perceived as attractive!

If you send the right message from the start, you have a better chance of winning the interview.  Dress like you are a success and you’ll be perceived as a successful person.  People hire “successful” people – at every level.

Your image is a powerful business tool.  Your goal is to demonstrate trustworthiness with the interviewer by conveying a positive presence.  A poor appearance earns you less money.  True personal power comes from within but it can be enhanced and developed. 

How well do you inspire trust in these three categories?

Impeccable Grooming

  • No facial hair
  • Professionally cut hair
  • Squeaky-clean body
  • Well-kept nails

 Pristine Clothing & Accessories

  • Spotless, pressed, well-tailored
  • Quality fabric – simple, tailored lines
  • Blue Tones – blues are trustworthy
  • High quality, well-maintained shoes

Friendly, Positive Demeanor

  • Eye contact
  • Erect posture
  • Open body language
  • Firm handshake
  • Confident attitude

To be successful today, a person must dress to exude as much power, credibility and authority, even if in casual environments.  This is where many folks run into trouble.  What does “business casual” really mean? 

The line between what men and women wear for work and what they wear after hours continues to blur. When in doubt, review the dress code handbook with the human resource professional, or seek out the expertise a professional image consultant.  You can also follow the lead of a well-respected co-worker.  Simply put, if you want to get ahead, it won’t hurt to dress like the boss (nearly three-fourths of the recruiters think supervisors have more respect for workers who emulate the way they dress).  Don’t put yourself at risk – dress for the job you want; not the one you have!

A powerful professional image opens many doors!  What’s your image?

Jill Jordan, Founder of Get Ahead by Getting Known, can be reached at  Jill is a successful career transition coach, writer, and speaker who is passionate about assisting women through personal and professional transitions to help re-invent themselves in order to live with purpose, passion and prosperity.


2 Responses to Articles

  1. Helena Hess says:

    I met you at SAWF in Nashville. I live in Tennessee and would like to consider private coaching. What is the procedure? I don’t know if you remember me or not but I am an administrator/teacher at a school.


    Helena M. Hess

    • Good Morning, Helena –
      Thank you for reaching out and I would love to work with you with private coaching. Let’s schedule a time to discuss and then I can give some recommendations that would fit your needs. I can be reached at 248-408-2432. How’s Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning? Looking forward to reconnecting! J

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