Career Development Path – That Vital Self-Presentation

One thing that will have more instant impact on your career development path than any other factor is your self-presentation. People tell you that you should never judge a book by its cover, well that might be true for books but when it comes to your career it’s garbage!

The fact is you get just one chance to make a first impression. Rightly or wrongly people will judge you the instant they see you. They will look at every aspect of your presentation. Hair, face, how you are dressed, shoes, etc. Never mind “beauty is only skin deep”, if you turn up looking like a tramp that’s what you’ll likely end up as!
It doesn’t stop there either. If you were seated when they arrived did you stand? Did you offer your hand? Did you introduce yourself? Did you make eye contact? All these things are judged by your prospective employer in a second or two and I use the word “judged” deliberately. The interview is well under way before a single word has been spoken, your career development path is already at risk…
…or has made a big step forward, because if you present yourself well, with assured composure, you are already a big leap ahead of any competition you might have because they are going to be missing some if not all of these elements.

Beware though. Balance is key. Confidence yes, but not forced over-confidence. If you can look them in the eye when you greet them, that’s good. It’s not a staring contest though – you’re not trying to lock gazes and force them to back down! A cool, dry, firm handshake is great but don’t get into a squeezing competition or try to arm-wrestle them to the floor – and definitely just a handshake, this is your prospective employer not your best buddy!
As for dress code, that might vary depending on the career development path you have chosen but even if your profession allows a degree of relaxation when it come to choice of things to wear, torn jeans and a T-shirt with an inappropriate expression on it aren’t going to do you any good unless you’re interviewing for the Sex Pistols! If casual is OK, be smart casual.