Friday, January 29, 2010

Improving Your Image in Unexpected Ways, From Your Ringtone to Your Business Card

In addition to improving your image in how you dress and how you communicate with others face-to-face, there are some other areas of your life that send people an impression of you that you may have never thought of. Find out below some areas in your life where you can make some minor improvements to help you send the right message you want to project to others:

  • Your email address/screen name. What does your email handle/screen name say about you? Does it say who you are because it’s your name? Does it indicate one of your hobbies or interests? Does it indicate what you do for a living? Where you went to college? Our email address can say a lot about us in just a few short characters. If you have recently found yourself in the market for a job due to downsizing and other effects of the current economy, you want to make sure you stick with an email address that is professional sounding. Avoid “cutesy” or questionable screen names that can send the wrong message. It’s best to use one that has your first and last name in it so that when you email your resume to an employer, they know exactly who is sending the attachment.
  • Your outgoing voicemail. What does your outgoing voicemail say about you? For your home phone voicemail, it could indicate whether you live alone or in a house with a lot of family members. If you are a single woman, you probably don’t want to draw attention to the fact that you live alone for safety reasons. It’s best to say “we can’t take your call right now” instead if “I can’t take your call right now.” Or, choose the voicemail’s standard greeting option. Again, if you are in the middle of a job search, you will be receiving calls from potential employers to set up times for interviews. It’s a good idea that you give them your cell phone number so that you can give your name only in the message, indicating they’ve reached the correct person. Giving them your cell phone number also prevents you from missing any messages your roommate or your 9-year-old accidentally deletes. Whatever you choose, it should be a professional sounding voicemail with no background noise. You also need to make sure your voice indicates enthusiasm. You don’t want to sound bored or boring when a potential employer hears your voice for the first time. That’s why you should always answer your phone in a cheerful tone when you may be expecting a call from a potential employer.
  • Your ring tone. What does your ring tone say about you? The sound of your ringtone or the song you’ve chosen for your ring tone can say a lot about your personality, your lifestyle, your values, and more. When choosing a ringtone, determine who might be around to hear it go off. Ask yourself if you would be embarrassed by the ringtone if your phone happened to go off in a job interview, in an important meeting, or in church. (Hopefully you’re well-versed in cell phone etiquette to know to turn your phone to silent before entering into such situations, but there are times when we all forget to do so.) Select a ringtone that is representative of who you are when you’re on your best behavior, while keeping in mind the annoyance factor. Will others find your ringtone annoying even though you like it? If so, consider just whom you might be annoying or offending. It could be the person that holds the keys to your next job.
  • Your business card. Everyone should have a business card, especially if they are in the market for a job. Don’t wait until you are hired for the company to pay for you to have business cards. Invest the time and money in having your own card for your job search or for your own business. Now, living in Nashville where you can throw a stone and hit six songwriters with that one stone, it’s easy to collect a lot of cards from a lot of people in the music industry. I try my best to always write down on the back of the card where I met this person so when I’m looking back through my rolodex I can remember who the person is. I’m one of those people who remembers a face but has a hard time remembering names. I have a feeling I’m not the only one who is like that. Therefore, I like getting a business card from someone who has included their picture on their card. This is the same reason why I have my picture on my card. I don’t have to stop and think where I met this person when they have their picture on the card. I know that there are online services such as Vista Print where you can create your own card using one of their templates and get a set of cards just for the cost of shipping, but let me tell you why that’s not the best idea. There is one particular template on Vista Print that has a red background with a microphone on it. Do you know how many people here in Nashville have given me a card with this template background? Their cards don’t stand out to me because they look like so many other cards I’ve been given. Also, they are printed on very thin paper. What impression do you think this makes on the person receiving the card? I want to encourage you to take the time to create your own unique card with your picture (or without if it’s not appropriate in your particular industry to include your picture) or get help from someone who can, and then have them professionally printed. You won’t be sorry! People will respond, “Hey this is a nice card,” and they will remember that. I created my own card using a great new service called MOO.  I was able to design my own card with their easy-to-use online system that let me upload up to 50 different images for the back of my card!  This was so cool because not all of my cards were alike and I was able to use the images of past clients to showcase my wardrobe styling work on the back of my cards!  If you don't want to create your own, they still have some cool templates that have different designs on the back of them so that not all your cards look the same.  I love this!  And the best part is you can choose between their really thick and modern finish cards or a more eco-friendly "green" card.  The cost is a little more than what you would pay at FedEx/Kinkos or UPS Store, but your card will stand out making it all worth it!  You can get your MOO business cards (and post cards, stickers, and more) by clicking here to get started! 

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