Spending time upgrading your wardrobe or considering your posture might sound superficial, but the image you project, both in person and online, can help determine whether or not you get the job you want. Put some effort into how you look, sound and feel, especially if you're hunting for a new job and applying and interviewing.
Think — and look — positive. Attractive people get hired and promoted more readily and earn more money, according to a study by Harvard and Wesleyan University Economists, because they're seen as more self-confident. Brand strategist Catherine Kaputa says we can "grow" confidence by understanding it comes from self-acceptance. "Accepting yourself is the most important ingredient in the self-confidence formula."
See also: Create your personal business brand
It's old-school, but it works: Practice your "elevator speech," a short verbal pitch that conveys who you are, what you do best and what you're looking for. Keep it around one minute, Kaputa says. "Strong, personal, authentic stories help give your brand credibility and set you apart from the competition."
From the heart
Brand strategist William Arruda draws on Socrates when he counsels clients to know thyself — what you're passionate about and what your intuition tells you to pursue. While you're at it, know what others think about you, too. "Until your brand is validated by others, it doesn't have the same power, even if we already know such things about ourselves."
It's in the cards
Got a stack of business cards in your pocket? Don't forget this tried-and-true, low-tech branding tool. Hand them out after your "elevator speech" and after any other networking interactions, to leverage those encounters. Get them made at a local print shop, or online at sites like vistaprint.com or printingforless.com.
What not to wear
You're not really wearing those shoes to the interview, are you? What about that circa-1983 power suit? Invest in a smart, up-to-date set of professionally appropriate business clothes. If you need help, hire an image consultant for a "wardrobe audit," or at the very least peruse Pinterest boards that highlight modern office wear. And remember what your mother told you: Stand up straight! "Command the space you're in," Kaputa says.