How's it Lookin'?

I received an email from an accounting firm today with a row of portraits of women who work there. I found it difficult to imagine myself in one of those photos, starched collar perfectly placed atop my conservative blazer's lapels, carefully calculated and straightened hair only slightly ruffled from my walk to the photography studio, earrings that dare not venture near my chin line.

While I wouldn't call myself wild, I definitely march to the to beat of a slightly different drummer. As a brand strategist working in the marketing world, I can get away with that. Yet if I were a CPA or an attorney, I wonder, would clients take me seriously?

We do judge books by their covers. When we meet a professional for the first time, I suspect our brains search for what a CPA, an attorney or a corporate CEO should look like and pass our judgment before we consider her intelligence, skills and experience. It's a game we all play, I suppose. Sadly, the less-than-adept-at-fashion probably lose that game more than they deserve.

As competition for work becomes more heated, every little bit of our personal brand is a factor. That may bite, but perhaps now is a good time to review your personal brand strategy and check all branding, including personal packaging. Make sure that what you see in the mirror matches what you're saying on your resume or in your marketing messages.

Hmm. I think I'll call my hair stylist.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto.