• Building a Positive Image On-line

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    Building a positive image that communicates a consistent message will ultimately strengthen your personal brand.  Since non-verbal messages oftentimes speak louder than words, take care about what your images convey about you. For example, it’s important that the headshot posted on your website or social networking profile reinforces your brand attributes. How do you do that?

    Professionalism

    While professionals typically hire professionals, with today’s digital cameras, a headshot taken by a friend can easily look as good as one taken by an in-studio photographer. In choosing the background, just be sure to look for a solid wall that’s light in color, and avoid architectural details like paneled doors and shutters.  Place yourself one to two feet in front rather than standing up against the wall.  You’re not posing for a mug shot, so relax and smile. 

    Attention to detail

    To help the viewer focus on you, your skills and your message, pay attention to your appearance details.  Are you well groomed?   Is your tie perfectly tied?  Is your collar lightly starched?   It is common for employer’s to believe that those who are attentive to personal details are also attentive to the details of their work. 

    Confidence

    The position of your head and body can easily communicate that you mean business or you’re tired and just want to get the photo over with.  Look directly into the camera.  Take a test shot and study your shoulders.  Do they look like you could carry the weight of the world or do you look defeated?

    Credible

    If you want to be taken seriously, make certain that your messaging communicates a theme.  Do you project consistency among styles? Are your clothes sending one message (conservative professional), but your hair (spiked like a rocker), grooming and accessories sending another?  Strong brand communication is consistent.

    Easy Going

    The cut of your clothing can subtly communicate whether you are easy going, traditional or creative.  If your desire is to let everyone know that you’re an easy going person, consider a jacket that has a relaxed cut, rather than a jacket that is tailored or asymmetrical.

    Authenticity

    Finally, and most importantly, if you don’t own the attribute or plan to develop it, don’t attempt to communicate it.  Eventually, when others meet you in person, they’ll figure out that your on-line identity wasn’t for real.  Remember, strong brands are clear, well developed, and carefully nurtured. 

    Protect your reputation and keep in mind that the sum of the details will define your brand. Make sure that every small detail reinforces the right branding message.

    Diana Jennings
    Diana Jennings is the founder of Brand You Image – a personal branding and image management company based in Southern California. A specialist in non-verbal communication, she brings a sophisticated understanding of people and a passion for growth to those working to reach their personal and professional goals. Typical engagements involve the development of high potential individuals and senior level management in personal brand discovery, image management, social and business behavior, and body language for better communication and interaction with others.

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Judith Rasband » 11. Dec, 2009

Great points. It’s certainly all in the details, isn’t it? It’s also important to have a consistent brand across the online realm.
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