Graduates, Do You Also Have A Corporate Personal Image?

So, you’ve graduated from university and are ready to kick-start your career. Just a quick question: got that Curriculum Vitae (CV) and cover letter ready? I’m sensing you got that covered. As a fresh graduate, I can vouch that most of us are constantly polishing our CVs, personal web pages, and online portfolios. But in the corporate world, we should also keep our personal image and etiquette skills in check! By presenting ourselves as professional and well-spoken individuals, we set a good first impression to our employers and colleagues. No matter what we do, I’m sure we all want to be remembered for the right reasons. Join me, as we learn how to dress, behave, and communicate the right way.

A smiling woman dressed in grey, white, and black corporate clothes waves "hi" to the camera. Her overall appearance and likeable demeanour boosts her image and etiquette skills.
When it comes to first impressions, we can’t control what others think of us. But we can control the way we dress and how we behave. By looking our best and being courteous, it can boost our chances of employment.
Photo by Benzoix on Freepik

Why Do We Need A “Good Image and Etiquette”?

We were trained to wear clean, school uniforms with our hair neatly combed and fingernails trimmed from a young age. Besides, our parents and teachers also groomed us to be respectful and courteous towards others. Now that we’re adults, I’m sure everyone has at least some basic set of grooming habits and etiquette. By practising them, we show that we care about our image and conduct. 

You might wonder, “If I already have a likeable personality, why should I care so much about how I look?” Well, as important as it is to have a good personality, your physical appearance also says a lot about you. Here’s why it matters.

1. Boosts Your Self-Confidence 

When you look good and feel good, your self-esteem grows. And when you have a healthy level of self-esteem, you exude self-confidence! Isn’t it inspiring how confidence empowers people to become the best versions of themselves? Many would agree that the art of image grooming helps boost self-confidence and maintain a presentable appearance. For women, grooming can include investing in proper hair care, quality skin care, suitable makeup, and clean clothes, of course.

A woman dressed in red with matching red earrings and red lipstick. She glances downwards, showing a clear view of her face makeup.
Like an infant, our appearance needs constant care. Therefore, it’s important to look sharp by doing your hair and makeup, followed by wearing the right type of clothing.
Photo by Tamara Bellis on Unsplash

2. Reflects A Professional Image In The Workplace 

As a child, I would visit my mother’s office and noticed everyone wearing smart-looking clothes. Soon, I discovered that these people didn’t wear them for fun. Rather, it was to make the workplace look more professional. In most workplace cultures, employees always look neat and respectful. The workplace’s code of conduct and appearance helps us treat each other more seriously and respectfully. To make things less boring, consider playing around with colours! The tip is to choose a pop of colour that fits you and is suitable for work.  

A woman wearing a grey, business casual jacket smiling for the camera. Her pose features the left side of her body more prominently, portraying a playful yet professional look and image.
Before business casual became today’s go-to office wear, people only wore formal and conservative suits and dresses to work. It wasn’t until the 1970’s when women traded their skirts and dresses for pants. Since then, women had more leeway to experiment new fashion styles for work, yet maintaining that professional look.
Photo by lookstudio on Freepik

If you work in the creative industry, this is your chance to express your individuality by wearing vibrant colours. When done correctly, you show that you take your job seriously whilst also staying true to your creative roots.

Choose Colours That Add A “Wow” Factor To Your Image

If you’re like me and spent the past year binge-watching Netflix shows, then you’d probably seen Emily in Paris. In the series, Emily Cooper plays an unapologetic protagonist with a flamboyant fashion sense and wears very colourful clothes. As I mentioned earlier, adding a splash of colour to your wardrobe is a fun way to spice things up. And when you find a colour that suits you best, you will attract the right kind of attention. 

Wearing the right colour will make you look younger, fitter, and healthier.

Michelle chan, certified colour consultant

Now comes the million-dollar question, “How do I find my best colours?” Well, the first step is to observe your skin colour, followed by your hair and eye colour. By focusing on these colours, we can then use the right makeup, clothing, and accessories that complement our features. 

A book with a variety of colours in boxes to guide people in finding their personal colours that would complement their image and personality.
Colours bring things to life. Think of your personal colours as your DNA traits. By identifying them, we can know ourselves better and thus, adjust our wardrobe with colours that flatter us best.
Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Etiquette As A Powerful Communication Tool 

Now, let’s talk more about etiquette. But before that, what does ‘etiquette’ mean? Simply put, etiquette helps us behave respectfully and kindly towards others in both our personal and working lives. When communicating with others, we need to know what is socially acceptable and what isn’t. In the corporate world, business etiquette helps us perform well in job interviews, meetings, and even formal dinners. Don’t forget that etiquette also involves the use of body language such as facial expressions, postures, and gestures. An elegant woman not only dresses immaculately, she also observes proper etiquette, making her a woman of poise and grace. That said, as long as there’s interaction, there’s always a need for etiquette, as it enhances our image and professionalism. So, this makes it important for us to learn and master them, in order to have good social skills. 

The World Of Beauty Pageants Where Image And Etiquette Shines Through

Until now, we’ve discussed how a well-groomed personal image and etiquette can help us in our corporate lives. But in reality, we can also put our well-groomed appearances and social skills to other use too. One of them is to join a beauty pageant competition. By doing so, one can build self-confidence, poise, character, and public speaking skills. In most pageants, contestants take care of their appearances by eating healthy, staying fit, and pampering their skin. As they are constantly in the public eye, they need to look good, and be well-spoken, especially during interviews. Therefore, contestants will have their image, character, personality, and talent polished to win the crown. 

A beauty queen wearing a crown and a "Miss Earth Ukraine 2017" sash, carrying a few stalk of grains in her left arms. Through the image that she shows in the photo, she suggests that her country, Ukraine, is a major producer of grains.
A beauty queen is confident of herself to make a change through beauty, grace and wisdom. 
Photo by diana_mironenko on Freepik 

Miss Universe is one of the world’s biggest and well-known beauty pageants where contestants are at least 172 cm tall. When competing on a large, international scale, contestants need to stand out. Therefore, this explains why height plays an important part in most beauty pageant contests. However, pageant judges also consider the way you beautify yourself and how well you perform. For physical appearances, you can showcase your natural beauty by styling your hair and makeup that highlights your unique features. To do this, you can either hire a professional artist or invest in makeup lessons. 

Make The World Your Stage

As for the contestants’ level of performance, you probably know what I’m about to say next. That’s right, catwalk, poise and confidence! If there’s something that both beauty pageant contestants and models can relate to, it’s walking down the runway. In the fashion modelling industry, models have to master the art of catwalk to look sophisticated for fashion shows. The catwalk is a walking art show that showcases the season’s newest styles and sets the mood for the year. Not only that, they also help designers gain publicity for their creative work.

Pageant judges will determine the contestants’ walk quality, difficulty level, and of course, their facial expressions. If you have a knack for catwalk while flashing that winning smile, perhaps this is your first step into pageantry. Or maybe, you’re just looking for opportunities to develop your confidence and poise on stage? Either way, you’ll learn how to do an elegant catwalk as you strut your stuff and gracefully strike a pose. 

Embrace A Fresh Image And Polish Your Etiquette

Whether you’re a fresh graduate or a veteran employee, it’s never too late to learn about corporate image grooming and business etiquette. And the same goes to those in beauty pageants. You’d be surprised that pageants are also a great way to train young women for the corporate world. With stage interviews every now and then, they improve one’s speaking skills for future job interviews, presentations, and important meetings. Yes, being confident and well-spoken is a skill that requires practice, but if anyone can do it, it’s you. So, if you’re ready to elevate your dressing, confidence, and professional public speaking skills, we got you covered.

Michelle Chan, an image grooming and etiquette trainer, smiling, while wearing an emerald-coloured jacket with matching black top and pants.
For years, Michelle has coached working adults from Malaysia, Singapore, and China on image grooming and etiquette. Likewise, Michelle also preps university and secondary students for their future careers. To date, she has hosted various webinars on personal grooming, etiquette, and executive presence for the public, universities and schools. 
Photo by Michelle Chan

Michelle Chan is an image grooming and etiquette trainer based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She is also the founder of Carat Comms Management, specialised in integrated marketing services and event planning. With a passion in grooming the youth, Michelle specialises in personal and corporate grooming, and etiquette training. She also conducts English speaking classes to help clients build their confidence in the workplace.

An Important Figure In The Beauty Pageant Scene

Besides being an image grooming and etiquette trainer, Michelle has also been a beauty pageant organiser since 2001. Therefore, she knows what goes on behind the scenes of a beauty queen’s journey. Since then, she has organised local and international beauty contests in Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. In fact, Michelle was the co-organiser and judge for the United Nations Global Pageants World Finals 2019 in Dubai

Michelle Chan handing over a white scroll sealed in a purple ribbon to the contestant who won the "Friendship Ambassador title".
Standing next to Michelle is a contestant who won the “Friendship Ambassador” title at the UNG’s World Finals in 2019. 
Photo by Michelle Chan
Michelle Chan with a group of UNG 2019 contestants holding a white banner that reads, "stop violence, spread world peace."
Michelle, in black, at an outdoor shooting with the UNG 2019 contestants on a cruising yacht at Dubai Marina
Photo by Michelle Chan

Visit this website to learn more about Michelle and her image grooming and etiquette classes. Contact her directly to find out more. And if you’re based in Kuala Lumpur, why not arrange a face-to-face meetup with Michelle at her office? Here’s a map for your reference. 

Be The Person That You Were Meant To Be

I believe that we don’t have to make ourselves look good and feel good just for special occasions. You only make a first impression once, so be the beautiful, confident, and well-mannered person that you are. There’s no doubt you’ll impress your employer and co-workers. Likewise, if you’re planning to join a beauty pageant, your beauty, character, and poise make you stand out from others.

Have you ever dreamt of gracing the catwalk of a high profile fashion show, but don’t know how to start? Come back next episode where we will explore a modelling school… Now, let’s hear from you. Do share some tips and tricks that can help us look better and speak more confidently in the comment section below!

How important is it for you to have good image and etiquette skills?
10 votes

About Geena ROSLYNA

Friendly people-person, Geena has dreams of becoming a successful entrepreneur. Public Relations and Management graduate, with a love for singing, acting and writing. Has a knack for picking up languages too.

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