When business leaders are asked what it was about an executive appointment that most influenced their decision on the right person for the job, personal presentation and image is often rated more highly than qualifications. That in essence is what your personal brand is all about.

Competition in the world of business is fierce, so making a good first impression is vital – it can be the difference between impressing clients and winning contracts or being left out in the cold. Improving your personal brand is a simple way to make that first impression count.

You are your brand – everywhere you go, what you say, how you say it; what you do, how you to it; how you look. So own it!

Here are some of our top tips to making sure your personal brand makes the right statement.

Be consistent. In much the same that your organisation’s brand needs to remain consistent, so does your personal brand. Without consistency, people won’t understand, nor reccognise the statement you’re attempting to make. You will, in effect, have no personal brand.

Think about how you dress and what statement your appearance makes. It may sound superficial, but poor grooming, scruffy shoes and unkempt clothing really does give the impression that you don’t care. The assumption then is that if you don’t care about your appearance, you probably don’t care about your work either. Rightly or wrongly, that is the way you will be viewed.

This leads on to dressing appropriately. We’re all professionals, so we should all understand what’s meant by work-appropriate clothing right? Sadly, that’s not, necessarily the case. I’ve had the pain of interviewing on paper apparently excellent candidates, only to find them turn up as though they were auditioning for a part in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, with more cleavage on display than you’d see at a Hooters bar! Or as though they’ve just come straight from the skate park. Does this reflect your personal brand at its best? Nowadays, many organisations have a more relaxed dress code, so it’s right that you dress inline with cultural expectations, but it’s still important that you maintain the integrity of your own brand intent. The aim is to strike thee right balance between being over-dressed and under-dressed, traditional and modern, formal and casual.

Style yourself not for the gig you have, but the one you want to have. By that I mean, always aim for the best quality you can afford. There’s an old adage, quality people wear quality clothes. Quality doesn’t have to mean design price tags, but good, reliable, quality items will ensure you look stylish and will allow your personal brand to shine through. Quality clothing gives people confidence in you, your credibility, and the fact that you’re more likely to do a great job.

Personal style is key. I feel just as comfortable going to a client meeting in really nice, quality jeans, smart shirt, clean shoes and a stylish blazer as in an LBD and high heels. Why? Because I understand my own style and I know what works for me – and represents me – and my business. I also dress inline with my clients’ expectations of me, a result of years of building my personal brand statement. Colleagues will always slap on some bright red lipstick, or 6″ heels, or don sunglasses before they’ll even consider facing the public. Do what works for you and fits your personal brand.