Corporate life has a continual focus on the next step. What’s the next role? How long do I need to stay in this one before progressing to the next? What do I need to achieve before I can get there? You could argue, like lots of areas of life we are never wholly in the present. It’s all about the next thing!

So at some point or another you are bound to be feeling it’s time your work was recognised and you were offered the challenge of the next role up. Time for that promotion!

I’ve had some interesting conversations lately; a few people have talked to me about examples of people who have been advised to work on their image and impact to get a promotion.  People who have been told they have the right skills and experience but they need to work on what and how they communicate visually to make the next step up. This can be frustrating for the individual whose first question is usually “Why should that matter?”. Is this something you have given thought to?

Firstly let’s think about why someone might make such a comment or even if they don’t why you might want to consider your image and impact as part of your preparation for the promotion. Moving into a more senior role is likely to mean you manage a team or bigger team than currently and you may have more of a leading role with clients. In both cases, increased credibility is important, especially as what we communicate visually is the dominant way in which we make an impression on others and influence them.

Secondly, here are my 5 top tips for making some small changes to your image and impact to help you increase your chances of getting noticed and being promoted. This doesn’t mean that developments in your work are not required; it just means that those positive developments are more likely to get noticed if people see something visually different about you.

  1. Find your style – do you have a definitive style that’s yours? Or, are you totally blending in with others? As your seniority increases, you need to look less like you are wearing a ‘uniform’. The additional benefit is that feeling more like you in how you dress will boost your confidence and you’ll perform better.
  2. Dress code level – is it appropriate for your company? Is it appropriate for the job you want to have.
  3. Colour is extremely powerful in what it communicates in itself and the combinations chosen. Also, wearing colour tones that work for you make sure others are drawn to your face – your communication centre.
  4. Style & fit – clothing & accessories should never be a distraction from you; they should help to draw people to you. Choosing items that flatter you in every way from the shape and cut through to patterns, necklines and accessories will help you look great and draw attention to your face.
  5. Attention to detail – it might sound over the top but details do matter, different people notice different things so always aim for your entire ensemble to be polished, even if it is casual – your clothes, your make-up, nails and shoes included. Any sloppiness about your appearance can have a negative impact on others and your image. Accessories are a very powerful ‘detail’ that can radically change an outfit – to dress it up or down and add interest.

My advice would be to not make lots of changes over night; this might seem a bit odd. Gradually make them over a period of time, perhaps a month.


To discuss, why getting a promotion is about so much more than your experience & expertise or any other matter that is affecting your working life and career progression, contact me for a no obligation, 30 minute Career Booster conversation.

To read more about why personal impact and personal brand matter, click here.

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Image courtesy of:árička