There is no better time than a new year to inspire professionals to shine the spotlight on their personal and professional goals. As we begin this year’s journey it’s a wonderful time to really delve into what’s working in your life – while also acknowledging what’s not. During this uncertain and treacherous time for the employment picture, I encourage you to see yourself in terms of a fresh perspective and consider exciting ways to reinvent yourself for 2010. Step up your visual image, celebrate your career accomplishments, and stake your claim in the professional spotlight.

As author D.H. Lawrence wrote, “Why do fashions in clothes change? Because really we ourselves change in the slow metamorphosis of time.” My brave clients who have worked with me as their coach over an extended period of time understand that the image journey is a process and a continuum, not an isolated acute one-time event. Professionals continue to evolve and grow over time as they set their sights on career advancements or top–tier jobs. Are you wearing clothes that date you back to five years ago? Is your hairstyle a throwback to 1980s big hair? Gentlemen, do your slacks resemble those triple-pleated ballooning numbers from the era of Miami Vice and do your high-waisted trousers and baggy suit jackets make you look like a character from a 1930s vaudevillian show?

Time for a Tune-up

Even luxury sports cars need a tune-up now and then, and this is the year when your presence needs to shift into high gear and exude an updated sense of classic-modern style with a dash of fashion spice. Otherwise you might fall behind in the slow lane as others pass you by en route to coveted positions and winning career roles.

Perception is reality! If your superiors or colleagues see that you are not renovating your appearance, you may not to be taken seriously and might miss an opportunity for a promotion. Don’t let your image become a clunker due to neglect. Take advantage of the expertise of a professional image coach who can help you define your authentic self-brand and then assist you in creating a visual presence from the inside-out – one that supports you in achieving your career aspirations and carries you full speed ahead to your desired destination.

The Devil is in the Details

A hard fact I recently learned by reading comments from CEO’s of Fortune 500 Firms is that one of the top reasons they don’t promote their people has nothing to do with job performance – but instead with poor personal appearance. When I read that I wondered whether the HR people or top managers in those firms are really ready to have the kinds of difficult, sensitive, honest conversations that are required to candidly cover the topic of employee appearance. Personal image is probably not a subject they feel comfortable discussing, and even if they do bring it up, image consulting is not their area of expertise.

During phone conversations I have had with top CEOs they are very descriptive about what image challenges their organizations face. They tell me the minute details of employee dress and appearance and I am always amazed at how they can recall such specific examples of people within their companies who sabotaged promotions because of a poor image. Trust me when I say that people at the top of your organization do indeed notice the “little things.”

Brand Me Successful

A professional image coach can be constructive and offer you suggestions to bring out your authentic brand style while also understanding the culture and position you hold within a company. I understand how important it is to be honest with people regarding the visual image they are projecting to others. Sometimes it may take a while for professionals to step up and make the commitment to discover their new and improved brand image. But once you do you will feel more self-confident, be more productive at work, establish relationships with greater ease, and be more successful within the organization.

Don’t let 2010 pass you by before you take the necessary steps to discover how to stand out and be unique in today’s crowded and competitive business arena. Start investing in your visual presence today to set a positive trajectory on this year’s path to greater career success.

Author's Bio: 

Sarah Hathorn is a professional image consultant, certified personal brand strategist, speaker, and author.
Her company, Illustra Image Consulting, works with high-achieving future leaders and large businesses by enhancing their corporate and personal brand image to take their businesses and careers to the next level.
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Phone: 678-528-1239 Email:
Copyright © 2009, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS
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