The Power of Personal Presentation – First Impressions Count!

Speaking recently with Rita from Rita Noon Image Consulting about a candidate that was a nice kid but just wasn’t presented for interview (thongs, shorts, cigarette packet on the table), I thought that it would be great to grab her insights into personal presentation that may just help you score that next job or career move that you wanted. Rita has previously worked in the recruitment industry and has seen what we all have seen – sloppy presentation that turns you off and immaculate presentation that creates a great first impression. Rita kindly contributed the following piece for our blog:

Personal Presentation – First Impressions Count!
Just as you spend time honing and perfecting your resume and cover letter for the job or career that you want; you must spend time honing and perfecting your personal presentation to make that first impression count.

Your job application (resume and cover letter), being the perfect documents, will gain you an interview. Your personal presentation will set the tone for that interview.

If you present for the interview looking neat, professional and groomed as you should, you will immediately find yourself in “positive territory”. Should you choose to not make an effort – ie not checking your shoes (for run down heels, level of cleanliness, general maintenance) your shirt for fraying sleeves or loose buttons, your pants for loose buttons or faulty hems and your jacket for bulging pockets or signs of wear – you are telling your prospective employer that they are not worthy of your respect nor attention to detail. You are, in fact, displaying to them how you may present for work. Either in a neat, professional and polished manner or in a “that’ll do”/”she’ll be right” haphazard way.

In an interview situation, you have approximately 5 seconds (being very generous) to make a first impression. When you capitalise on that time, you can give yourself a very strong advantage over your competitors. Equally, if your waste that time you have given an advantage to your competitors. It is fundamentally important to make a good first impression as there are no second chances at the interview process!

Personal Presentation and Promotion in the Workplace.
Now that you have landed the dream role in the company, it is time to think seriously about promotion and how to make yourself stand out – in a positive way.

Everyone knows of or has worked with “that guy” or “that girl” who shows up everyday looking as though he or she slept in their clothes or has “something with sauce” for breakfast/lunch most days that drips onto their shirt. You do not want to be known as “that guy or girl”.

Maintaining a high standard of personal presentation is a guaranteed way to keep that positive first impression going. It is your opportunity to demonstrate that you take your role seriously, you are proud of your role and your employer, and you are consistently performing to a high level.

It is not about cost – some people that spend a lot of money on their clothes still actually don’t dress well for work, whereas others know how to spend cleverly and create a perfect work wardrobe without breaking the bank. Quality clothing is a career investment and can often be purchased at a very reasonable price during sales.

Your career and your day-to-day work is NOT a fashion parade (Miranda Kerr, being one of the exceptions). Your work wardrobe should be comfortable, on the conservative side and suited (no pun intended) to your employer’s brand and your workplace. Your clothes must be clean and in good repair, your personal hygiene must be exceptional and it must be so, every single day.
When it comes to promotion time or even at your annual reviews – you want to be the person who is consistently good at their job, has an excellent attendance record AND represents the company in a professional and positive manner.

Your personal presentation can be your advantage in your career. Make it a priority!

Thanks Rita
We would like to thank Rita for her contribution to this week’s blog. Visit her website at to pick up some tips on how to dress appropriately for that next job or career move.

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