I run an image business. I help enterprises look better by providing them with innovative, functional and distinct brand collateral.
This is more commonly know as branding. We largely respond better to branded products and services — those that are packaged professionally and attractively.
It is for this very reason that we must understand ourselves as products and services and proceed to professionally wrap ourselves. Our packaging is what gets us selected from the array of professionals in the crowded labour marketplace.
We’ve got to understand how to take who we are, what we do and the value we present and succinctly wrap for the world as attractively as we can. You see; we are the “products” and “services”.
If we are not appropriately packed, well-labelled and easily identifiable as the valuable professionals that we are, we stay rejected in the shelf until we get to our sell-by dates after which there is likely to be a sale to promote ourselves.
This translates to accepting substandard treatment and lower pay because we aren’t package for anything better. A pity, this is. Unfortunately, many arrive at this unfortunate place without even realising that they packaged themselves for it.
If you received any presents over the Christmas period, you are sure to have excitedly opened the beautiful and meticulously wrapped ones first. They drew you in by their packaging. You were less enthusiastic about the rest.
Think back to when you were a child and had some holiday celebration where gifts were given. This is exactly what happens in the world when you are looking to attract good quality employers, clients and projects.
Your “packaging” matters. If you’re reading this and wondering about the effectiveness of your “packaging”, that is your cue to improve it.
If on the other hand you, like many rejected and disappointed capable professionals, think that this is a shallow conversation and that all that matters is the quality of your work, you are literally on your own.
Go on and enrol to yet another unproductive evening class for a qualification, quickly update your profile and sit there waiting for your ideal job to knock on your door. Well, be sure to sit comfortably in there with a large stock of food because you’re in for a long wait.
Look, the way you are perceived by your colleagues, prospects and clients is extremely important. It’s especially important if you’d like them to work with you as a knowledgeable respected and valued professional, not a mere employee of XYZ organisation.
You have far more control over how you are perceived in the marketplace than you give yourself credit for — that is why you get up, apply Vaseline on your face, throw something to basically cover your nakedness and face the world. Think. Please think again. This is a problem for which there is a quick easy fix.
The bigger challenge is that most of us don’t comprehend just how much value we bring to the world. If we did, we never fail to package ourselves excellently. And if we do not understand our value, we fail at communicating it.
And if you can’t show it and communicate it, then it pretty much doesn’t exist and we are not likely to earn much from it if anything at all.
The fact is that you’re probably a very capable professional. The question you want to pose to yourself is: “does my image project it?” Don’t short-change yourself. Ensure you look the part. Not only for the interview day. Every single day.