Quick Tips To Build Your Professional Image

You’ve just got off the phone and received that job offer you’ve been waiting for. You leap for joy to your wardrobe only to discover that you’re not quite sure if you’ve got the right set of clothes for your big day at the office! From colour coordination to projecting the right image at work-these can be daunting, especially with first impressions accounting for much in a professional work environment. 

5 Mar 2020

5 mins read

By Joshua Joseph  


Dressing the part can boost your chances of acing a job interview. You've just got off the phone and received that job offer you've been waiting for. You leap for joy to your wardrobe only to discover that you're not quite sure if you've got the right set of clothes for your big day at the office! From colour coordination to projecting the right image at work-these can be daunting, especially with first impressions accounting for much in a professional work environment. We speak with Linda Teo, Managing Director at Carrie Models International, one of Singapore's most established modelling agencies and founder of Carrie Academy International, a training provider in personal and corporate image to help you get started with building your professional image.

What do you think are key factors that are often neglected when it comes to projecting a professional image?
Keeping a tidy appearance is really important. There are ladies who put on very light make-up and it makes them appear dull at work. They should also always have manicured nails and have their hair neatly tied up. It makes them appear more approachable, trustworthy and fresh for work.

For men, it has to do with choosing the right collared shirts for their face shapes. For example, wide spread collars are more suited for oval face shapes whereas narrow collars are better suited for those with round face shapes. The right collar can enhance your appearance but many men don't often pay attention to this.


Are there ideal colours for a professional work environment?
It really depends on the profession you are in. For example, if you are in the marketing business, it's ok to wear brighter colours whereas it might not be suited if you are perhaps working in the IT industry. Ultimately, it's ideal to wear solid colours. For females, they should try to avoid something too flashy like floral prints. As for males, two to three white fabric shirts are essential items to own in your wardrobe. Navy blue and pale striped shirts are also good additions.

When it comes to wearing accessories, what would your advice be?
For ladies, their accessories should be dainty, small and elegant. It should never be too loud and make you stand out in the wrong way. If you're wearing silver then all your accessories should be silver and likewise for gold. You have to ensure that all your accessories are of the same colour. Lastly, you should not wear more than seven pieces of accessories as it will be too overwhelming.

What about handbags and briefcases?
Handbags have the ability to transform your appearance. Always ensure that your bags match the colours of the outfits you are wearing. You can never go wrong with solid colours. For men, a simple black briefcase does the trick.

Would you have any final fashion advice for fresh graduates who are starting work?
I believe that first impressions often count and they carry about a 50% weightage of the final decision when someone decides to hire you. Hence, never underestimate the importance of how you dress. Always take the cue of what the dress code expectations are from the senior management at your workplace- observe what they wear. Dress your best to appear sharp and to project yourself as confident and trustworthy. This will give you a good head start to achieving success at work!

SIM's Career Development Office provides professional image workshops for all students as part of its initiative to prepare them for the workforce. Find out more about such workshops here.