By Erica Davidson
Guest Blogger, [GAS]
We all know that non-verbal cues are key for landing the new IT director position or scoring a coveted promotion. But did you know that the way you dress could be the most important non-verbal communication of all?
It’s true. Dressing for success extends beyond the initial interview, or even the final offer. Your personal appearance is a critical part of the impression you leave on others throughout your career. Dressing like a “nerd” (wearing WOW t-shirts, taped glasses and black socks with tennis shoes) is a no-no that could leave you pigeon holed in the data center until retirement.
Not sure what to change? Not to worry. Follow these simple tips to boost your earning potential. They’re easier than developing IP-routing proficiency, and can strategically influence your workplace status.
1- Communicate your commitment
Practice the professional image you want to project. Dressing nicely will give you a sense of confidence, and self-assurance is a pretty hefty leverage tool when it comes to climbing the geek’s corporate ladder. In addition, your coworkers may measure your attention to detail by your personal grooming habits. No one wants a support staff member with dog breath and sweat stains.
2- Play your personality
No one’s asking you to be someone you’re not. If you’re happy being relegated to the cubicle in the corner, by all means wear the shirt you slept in the night before. But if you want to project yourself as a credible, knowledgeable source of information, step it up a notch. My guess is that if you’re reading this article, you’re in the latter category.
If you’re looking to communicate power and authority, adopt nonverbal signals of masculinity. Choose somber clothing shapes and color, like dark shades and tailored items. Stay away from pink, purple and bright green and blue dress shirts.
Want to paint yourself as fun, cooperative and team-oriented? Go more feminine. Light colors, patterns and loose shapes will signal relaxation and tolerance.
If you want to showcase technical knowledge and experience, build your wardrobe with black and white pieces. Black signals commitment, expertise and book smarts. White is a sign of purity, compassion and wisdom (look at the Pope!).
3- Silently scream confidence and competence
Use proven and trusted non-verbal clues to interact with power players. Look interviewers, coworkers and superiors in the eye. Don’t act nervous—tapping your foot, chewing your pencil, clipping your nails and picking your teeth are all on the how-to-get-demoted list.Shake hands firmly, but don’t be intimidating. You shouldn’t cut off blood flow with your grip.
4- For goodness sake, listen!
Open minds and receptive ears are an important part of your non-verbal persona. When someone else is talking, pay attention and make eye contact. Nod your head when appropriate. Repeat concepts back to the speaker to communicate acceptance and understanding.
In short, just because you’re in a technical field doesn’t mean you can’t use the techniques executives are known for employing. Working the non-verbal game is a surefire way to help you get noticed, and to help your paychecks start increasing.