Let me start with a couple of statements that I am sure you are not reading for the first time here. “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? We are encouraged to look beyond the initial packaging and discover the deeper content that something (or someone) offers. Then, there is a second quote which I believe may be more realistic, particularly when you are making your mark in a professional setting. “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Whether fair or not, we humans make judgments about everyone we meet within the first several seconds of an introduction. We believe that we can reach solid conclusions about a person based on his or her smile, clothing, handshake, and accent. It is important you recognize that you are constantly being scrutinized so that you can play the game as wisely as possible. Many of you reading this blog are Healthcare IT consultants who are hired for contract engagements. As you know, if you can’t command the respect of the troops from Day One – you’re sunk! It is of critical importance to you to make a solid first impression – your career advancement may depend on it.
What are some ways in which you can solidify that crucial first impression? Know the dress code of your current position or, even better, the attire that is expected for the job that is one step up on the ladder from where you currently find yourself. You should dress for the job you want, not necessarily the one you have. Approach everyone you meet with a firm handshake and a warm smile. This greeting will display the confidence you need to show that you are a leader while also remaining approachable to those with whom working partnerships will be essential. And, of course, you need enter every room with the mindset that you are going act as if it is impossible to fail. If you believe you are successful, others will have the same impression.
Of course, there is much more to jump starting your career than getting a great haircut and a new tie. But, do not let these details slip past you when you are developing your plan for promotions and a bigger paycheck. I can tell you that I have real data that indicates how you dress really matters; the most viewed posts on my blog this year BY FAR are posts on dressing for success! Need help? Consult a friend who dresses well or contact me and I will be happy to provide advice for any budget.