There are serious side effects to looking good

Your reader makeover piece (Personnel Today, 22 August) drew attention, with a suitably light touch, to a matter that I believe is frequently passed over in our profession’s hell-bent determination to be ‘taken seriously’ and secure that elusive place on the board.

As human beings, one thing we all have in common, no matter how much we try to deny it, is that we form impressions of each other, and first impressions are formed in lightning quick time.

People buy people, and the physical image that we each project is a part of our day-to-day ‘sales pitch’, whether this is in the boardroom or the bedroom.

Call it superficial (I call it being human), but how we choose to look each day says a great deal about ourselves to our bosses and colleagues. Not only this, it perpetrates a strong internal dialogue. There is simply no denying the positive psychological boost to be had on a ‘good hair day’, when the outfit, shoes, hair, etc, all come together and you just know that you look good.

In HR, we know we wrestle with our professional image, but we’ve come a long way, so why not give it a further helping hand with the right packaging? This is not about dressing to impress or, God forbid, to seduce, but about conveying a physical image that says we mean business, (the people business), without looking liking an extra from an 1980s US soap, or your stereotypical geography teacher.

I’d love to hear how your three featured readers find that their new images affect their careers, or not, in the near future.

Emma Hughes, director of HR, UK & International, Specsavers Optical Superstores

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