Executive Presence: It’s Not Just About the Clothes

Aha Moment: The way you present yourself in business matters. Period.

Think of the packaging of your product.

Clothing is an integral part of your overall brand. The bottom line is, your personal appearance means as much as your skill and expertise. But it’s not the only factor.

Here’s how to use your executive presence in order to help you in your career  –  not hurt it.

Future prep starts now

There’s a lot of truth in the phrase, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

It refers to clothing and appearance but also to something more.

It also has to do with the way you carry yourself and the personal brand that you’re building.

Many leaders are identified several years before their future positions are ready for them.

They stand out because they’re obviously forward-thinking individuals who are “dressing” for the job they want while performing for the job they have.

Your future starts on Day One.

What are you communicating?

You won’t get noticed when you’re trying to blend in with the crowd.

Drawing attention to yourself  –  in a good way  –  is beneficial for your career growth.

Your style is a big part of standing out.

Clothing is one way to set yourself apart, but it doesn’t give the whole story.

Style can also refer to the way that you do tasks and the way you interact with your coworkers.

For example, if you’re opinionated and not afraid to share what you’re thinking, that trait becomes a part of your brand. You’ll be known as someone who always has an honest response.

Be aware of what your personal style is communicating to those around you and be known for the way you present yourself.

Show your character

People will notice how your value system is reflected in your day-to-day life. Your actions should tell people what they need to know about you.

No one will look at your tailored shirt and say, “I bet she’s respectful of other people’s time!”

Expensive cuff links don’t show your coworkers that you’re happy to help someone who’s struggling.

Show people what you value by your actions and your presence.

Your content should be quality

What do you bring to the table? Your work doesn’t have a voice unless you give it one.

The quality of your work product is a part of your executive presence.

When you’re writing an email or a report, take the time to make sure your grammar is flawless and there aren’t any typos.

Show that you’re organized, on top of things and not flying by the seat of your pants.

Be aware of your dot.com

Your executive presence is also an online presence. Your activities on social media can be a positive or a negative for your career.

If your employer Googles you, would they find an incomplete LinkedIn profile and some disparaging memes on your Facebook page?

Be mindful and intentional about your online activities because they matter!

Even the pictures that you post on your Instagram account tell a story about you, your character, and what you value.

Make sure that each and every offering from your online presence is worthy of the executive presence that you’re working to build and maintain to advance your career.

Own it

Your clothes matter but so do a lot of other elements that make you, you.

It’s your responsibility to shape the way you want others to perceive your executive presence and the narrative that others share about you. Always ask yourself what do you want to be said about you when you are not in the room?

Your actions really will speak louder than your words, but make sure your words are backing up the personal brand that you want to have.

Fashion your executive presence into the correct representation of your personal brand that it should be.

What aspects of your executive presence do you need to be more mindful of?