Lessons From My Grandfather

In my last post I looked at how we should Paint Ourselves in a Positive Light when it comes to personal presentation. Now I want to take a look at personal presentation when like me, as I write, you are looking for a new role and being called to interview.

It’s strange how lessons learnt at a young age stay with us isn’t it. My Grandfather was a deeply loving man but he was an absolute stickler for dressing “appropriately” and he expected us all to follow suit. I can still recall the look of shock on my Grandfather’s face when I turned up to a family event wearing a brown suit and his question which was along the lines of “Are you going fishing?”

He very much saw brown as a colour for the country and not something that one would wear anywhere else! How times have changed and I am sure that he would be equally shocked at some of the clothes we wear nowadays. However, that comment from him has stuck with me and I cannot recall ever having worn a brown suit. He always told us that one should dress as if we were about to hear that we were being promoted to the Board.

Even today I still find myself wondering when I check how I look in the mirror before going out “would Grandfather approve?” He was very much in my thoughts the other day when I was attending an interview. I knew from my research that the company had adopted “dress down Friday” however, it would not have occurred to me to attend in anything other than a suit and tie – even if they had said “oh don’t worry we do dress down on a Friday.” When we are attending an interview then we really do need to look at our professional best don’t we?

During a job interview, you spend every moment under examination. There’s no two ways about it. The way you present yourself either leaves your interviewer excited to call you back or eager to put your resume on the bottom of the pile. That being said, keep the following information in mind as you prepare for your next interview… and good luck!

Dress for Success

Many times, your clothing is the thing that gives your interviewer his or her first impression of you. For best results.

Some companies may have a dress code requiring formal business attire, while others choose to keep their dress code more casual. The best way to find out about how a company’s employees dress is to ask. But, if you can’t ask in advance, for me it’s best to dress in a conservative business suit. With a suit and tie I can always remove the tie if it is obvious that I would look out of place! Keep accessories to a minimum, to avoid standing out too much. If your attire draws too much attention, it has the potential to take the focus off of your qualifications and credentials.

Be Confident

Self-confidence is vital when it comes to presenting yourself in a positive way. If you aren’t confident in yourself, how can you expect a potential employer to feel confident in hiring you? The best place to start when it comes to confidence is with a smile. Not only does smiling make you come off as approachable, it also releases endorphins in your body that makes you feel more relaxed.

Additionally, take time to fully prepare yourself before the interview begins. Do a bit of research on the company where you’ll be interviewing. Prepare any documents you may need and practice answers to questions that might come up.

Practice Proper Interview Etiquette

As well as being a stickler for appropriate dress one of the lessons that my Grandfather taught me was to treat everyone with respect from the most junior member of staff to the most senior. Displaying proper professional etiquette can mean the difference between getting hired and being passed over. Offer a firm, confident handshake at the beginning of the interview. Make eye contact during the greeting and when you answer your interview questions.

In addition, make sure to thank the interviewer for their time afterwards. Improper interview etiquette may get overlooked in some cases, but failing to be polite makes you come across as rude and leaves the wrong kind of lasting impression.

While your qualifications go a long way toward landing you a great job, they don’t accomplish the task alone. If you get the position, it’s important to have left your new boss with a good impression right then and there. Projecting a positive image of yourself helps to ensure that their image of you is positive, from the moment you start the new role.

Painting Yourself in a Positive Light

The topic of personal presentation is one that has come up in a number of articles of late and is also a question which several people have asked me about – especially those who like me are currently looking for a new role. For me it is about much more than just wearing the right clothes and goes much deeper which is why I want to take a look at it in some more detail.

You’re probably familiar with the phrase, “painting yourself in a positive light.” If not, this particular saying has a great deal to do with the task of presenting yourself to others in an upbeat fashion. You’ll find it to be extremely important, especially in a business setting.

There’s no way around it. The way you act around people definitely influences how they feel about you. To be polite, when negative feelings are involved, some individuals choose to keep their opinions to themselves. This is acceptable, because they are well within their rights to do so. Unfortunately, others won’t hesitate to tell you what they REALLY think about you. Sometimes, it’s a vicious world out there! You need to be prepared.

In addition, there’s the possibility of the uncomfortable issue of rumors and gossip. Once one or the other gets started, it typically spreads like wildfire with no end in sight. Presenting yourself in a positive way helps to reduce the chances of these problems popping up.

The good news is this. It’s entirely possible to change a person’s first impression of you, simply by altering your personal presentation. This won’t work 100 percent of the time, of course, because nothing is guaranteed. However, you’ll no doubt see a change for the better the vast majority of the time.

Your Level of Self-Esteem

Your level of self-esteem is vital when it comes to how the public views you, in all kinds of situations. It’s important to remember that self-esteem requirements aren’t static. In other words, different scenarios demand varying levels of this much-needed attribute. Underlying personal stress (if any) and the specific audience you interact with both play a role in the outcome of the day’s presentation. No two will ever be the same.

If you feel as though you have low self-esteem, you’re certainly not alone. Millions of individuals share the same opinion of themselves. The good news is this: it IS possible to raise your self-esteem. Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Self-worth has little to do with a person’s abilities or talent. Don’t be afraid to frequently remind yourself about all of the things you excel at. Better yet, do something that you’re good at, something that holds your attention. This allows you to relax and to feel more competent about things to come.
  2. As surprising as it may seem, low self-esteem is often the result of thinking about yourself too much. Finding something else to focus on when you’re feeling a bit down, just might be all it takes to put you in the kind of cheery mood audiences appreciate.
  3. Learn relaxation techniques. Relaxing magically makes your brain less emotional. Consider taking up meditation or self-hypnosis. If you want to try something a bit more strenuous, tai chi is a great option. Devoting as little as an hour a day to relaxation can really make a difference.
  4. Don’t fall prey to the comparison trap. You’re not doing yourself any favors when that happens. There’s always going to be someone else who has more than you. Focus on you and any recent accomplishments you’ve made instead.
  5. Promote kindness; it’s guaranteed to boost your self-esteem. It doesn’t have to be a huge gesture in order for you to feel the boost. Holding the door for someone, paying for a stranger’s cup of coffee, or taking a minute to encourage a friend are just three of many ways to make kindness matter.
  6. Everyone occasionally makes mistakes. When it happens to you, try to handle the situation in a positive way. Do your best to find the upside of your dilemma. Many times, the repercussions of making a mistake are not as bad as you envision them to be.
  7. Transform your home into a personal oasis. Fill it with your favorite things… music, books, candles… all of the things that relax you and shut out all of the hastiness of the day.

Just to be clear, never confuse self-esteem with confidence. Both are extremely important. But, they are two different things.