If you had an internship lined up for this summer, it’s likely gone virtual. While this may be exciting news for some (no commuting, whoop!), it presents a whole different array of challenges and opportunities.
How do you maintain decorum and build a reputation without traditional face time with your manager and colleagues? Since your position has gone remote, your interpersonal skills are going to need to shine even brighter- and your appearance may need to speak louder than words.
Here’s how to put your best foot forward, even if you’re a Zoom call away:
Know Your Audience.
We’re not going to say you can’t get away with a professional blouse and pajama pants but think about who you’re trying to make an impression with over a video chat. Is it your fellow cohorts? The manager? What’s the vibe of the office?Samantha Brown, a New York City celebrity stylist who serves close to fifty clients a month, told the publication The Ladders: “Consider who you’re interacting with and your goals for the day. If you need to be relatable you can wear something a little more casual. If you need to command the room, it helps to dress up a little more.”
The room might be a 5×5 inch square on your laptop, but nonetheless: Dress the part.
Look to Leaders.
You can do yourself a favor by inquiring with your manager, or the HR department, on what the dress code has been since the company has gone virtual. But when in doubt, it never hurts to follow the leader.To quote Brown: “If your CEO is in a hoodie, scale down within reason, maybe ditch the sport coat. But don’t let it backfire by thinking you can get away with any look. You can never get in trouble dressing well. You can find yourself in trouble or being questioned by authorities at work when dressing down.”
Dressing Is Branding.
The impressions you set during this time will largely be visual, and what you wear on your video calls will set the perception. As Mary Lou Andre, Founder of Dressing Well, told The Ladders: “If you don’t manage your brand, your brand manages you.”
Arlena Jackson, MBA is an international career consultant, writer, keynote speaker and leadership trainer dedicated to the advancement of emerging young women worldwide. Considered the “career whisper” for early career professionals and emerging leaders, Arlena founded Elevation Ally after spending nearly 20 years in various executive roles where she led global communications teams with IBM, NASA, Emerson and Salesforce in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Arlena is a sought-after keynote speaker, workshop presenter and panelists with high schools, universities and companies on careers, leadership, women at work and success in the workplace. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org and connect with Arlena on Twitter, FB, LinkedIn and Instagram.