Your application may put you in the running for a new job, but it won’t be enough to land the role alone. To get that coveted offer letter, you need to have the right image along with the right skills.

Many associate a positive professional image with the ability to succeed at work. The right image can make you seem more likeable, competent, and trustworthy. The wrong image, on the other hand, can make you look lazy, indifferent, and unprepared. The hiring manager’s assessment of your personality traits can be the deciding factor between you and another equally qualified candidate.

In order to succeed in your job search and land the job you want, you need to learn how to use your professional image to your advantage.  

Update your interview outfit

One of the most telling things about a person’s personality is often the clothes they choose to wear. It’s one of the first ways we express ourselves as adolescents and how we associate with other social groups – the preppy kids wore polos and khakis, the goth kids wore all black, and student athletes would wear varying sportswear. We continue to use clothing to express our identity and associate ourselves with desired social groups as we age into adulthood.

This means that when you step into your interview, your choice of outfit is one of the primary ways the hiring manager will be assessing how well you’ll fit in the context of the position. If you only have one go-to interview look that’s been sitting in the back of your closet for years, you might want to rethink the amount of effort you’re putting in. Give yourself options based on the job you’re targeting. If you want to land a position at a trendy start-up, keep some fun business casual wear on hand. If you’re trying to land an executive position, make sure you have some nicely fitted formal business wear. For positions in customer service, hospitality, or otherwise, keep an outfit on hand that fits their expected dress code in order to look the part.

Go the extra mile in personal care

Your personal appearance is an important aspect of how you’re perceived. If you walk into an interview unshaven, tired, and on your second day without a shower, the hiring manager will be less than impressed. If you’re perceived as not being able to keep a balance between your regular responsibilities and your own wellness and health, why would the hiring manager trust that you’ll be able to keep up with the added stress of a busy workload?

Before any interview or job networking event, you should always go the extra mile in personal care. Get a fresh haircut, pop a breath mint, and find a cologne or perfume that smells nice. You can also find grooming solutions for any insecurities that may be negatively affecting your confidence. If you struggle with hair loss, there are easy ways to manage and enhance hair growth. Or, if you struggle with facial blemishes, finding a skincare routine that works for you can do wonders.

Not only does your personal appearance play an important role in how you’ll be perceived by others, but it plays an important role in how you perceive yourself. If you look good, you’ll feel good – which is essential for building your confidence and improving your demeanor.