More than dressing the part, you need to act the part. A huge part of the first impression you make is made before you open your mouth. In fact, it’s probably made no later than when you have crossed the office and shaken the hand of the person you are meeting – and very possibly long before that. It’s the result of the non-verbal communication that we all send and receive at a very visceral level.
Your presentation is in the way you hold your body, the way you walk, and especially the way you shake hands – it is using your whole physical being to express yourself and goes a long way to building your credibility. Without presence there is no credibility.
For success in the job search process you need to carry yourself like a successful professional person. The right “presence” can make up for a mistake in dress or other faux pas. Observe yourself. Are you confident and controlled? Those qualities present a strong presence while sharp, fast movements reflect nervousness and insecurity. Match your movements to your words to convey mastery of the subject. Less movement can sometimes be more. Don’t be wooden but do behave in a calm, in-control way. And do what feels right to you, regardless whether it works for other people.
For many decades now we have known the power of body language and a simple guide to some of the most common signals we send with our bodies is probably appropriate here.
· A brisk, erect walk is indicative of confidence.
· Walking with shoulders hunched indicates dejection or lack of confidence.
· An open palm indicates sincerity and openness.
· Arms crossed on chest, especially if combined with crossed legs, indicates defensiveness.
· Sitting with legs crossed indicates boredom or being closed.
· Sitting with legs separated indicates open or relaxed.
· Sitting with legs crossed, hands clasped behind head indicates superiority and arrogance.
· Tilted head indicates interest.
· A hand on the cheek indicates thinking or evaluating.
· Rubbing the nose indicates doubt.
· Patting hair or touching the face indicates insecurity.
· Stroking the chin indicates attempting to make a decision.
· Tugging at an ear indicates indecision.