Look the part for your job search

Posted by Amanda Augustine

November 28, 2012 @ 02:00 AM

Invest in your image on and offline with a budget-conscious haircut, updated clothes, makeup, and a professional head shot for your online profiles. Week 1 of New Year, New You

Confident_Skippy_FaceLeftSince we’re only on week one of this countdown to the New Year, New You, I want to start with something fun. This week I want you to go shopping for your personal brand.

That’s right, you heard me - shopping. Sure, you can tell your significant other that Amanda made you do it. And for those of you with tight budgets, I’ll show you ways to invest in your brand without breaking the bank.

In all seriousness, to be successful in the job search you have to look and feel your best. Isn’t it easier to put yourself out there to network and interview when you’re feeling good about how you look?

And while it’s not fair, experts agree that a person’s appearance can affect the outcome of one’s job search and potential for advancement in the workplace. Your personal grooming, professional wardrobe – even your haircut – play a role in your personal brand.

Here are three ways to upgrade your look to improve your brand – on and offline.

Get groomed.

Invest in a professional haircut and other grooming services such as waxing, makeup for the ladies, and a professional shave for the gentlemen. Look on Groupon or LivingSocial for daily deals on these types of services. Often, salons will offer free or discounted cuts for their academies, such as Aveda or Vidal Sassoon. Unless you’re in a highly creative field, stick to a more traditional haircut style. Ladies can take advantage of the cosmetics counter at the nearest department store or Sephora location for a free makeover. You may be guilted into buying a lipstick, but overall it will be great deal.

Get tailored.

During this holiday season most of you will be out and about buying presents for your loved ones. Put yourself on the list this year. Take advantage of the holiday sales to update your job-search wardrobe and accessories. Use sites like Deal News to find the best promotions, and shop sites like Overstock for discounted products. I am a big fan of Marshalls and TJ Maxx for great deals on high-quality clothing and accessories. Is your family nagging you for gift ideas? Scope out the stores and ask for specific items or gift cards to boost your job-search attire.

Get a glamour shot.

Did you know that your LinkedIn profile is 40 percent more likely to be clicked on if you have a photo? But not just any photo. This image needs to be professional, friendly, and in alignment with your personal brand. Your selfie is not going to score you any points with prospective employers. And while you have a great family and your dog is adorable, neither of these images belongs in your profile picture.

If you’re thinking about getting a family portrait taken at the local mall, ask if they could throw in a head shot of you as well. jcp offers discounts on portraits throughout the year, especially around holiday time. Really strapped for cash? Ask the photographer at the next event or wedding you’re attending to take a shot of you. Just make sure your attire and the background are suitable for your professional image.

With a small investment you can boost your self-esteem and personal image for the job search, so give these tips a try this week. Next week, we’ll talk about making your professional resume mobile.  

TheLadders Ask Amanda Augustine

Amanda Augustine is the Job Search Expert for TheLadders. She provides job search and career guidance for professionals looking to make their next career move. Have a question for Amanda? Submit your question here for a chance to have it answered in her weekly column, and be sure to follow her at @JobSearchAmanda on Twitter and “Like” her on Facebook for up-to-the-minute job-search advice.

Topics: Ask Amanda, Personal Branding