Enhance your employability quotient

by | November 1, 2009

Be resilient and maximise your employability during this tough economy.

BY: Gloria Tam


In a tough economy, it can be challenging hanging on to your job and even more arduous looking for one. 
With an economic downturn, for individuals who are aged 40 and above, it is pertinent to stay upbeat with strategies that keep you resilient and maximise your employability. Don’t let the economic downturn dampen your spirits. Shape up and be relevant in and for the working world before you get shipped out. 
The following tips using the acronym SHAPE can help you enhance your personal effectiveness and employability: 


• Skill-set development

Your skill-set is the best guarantee-cum-security you can have for your current and future career. Enhance your skills by furthering your training or education that will complement your existing skill-set. This will help you stay relevant and enhance value to your current organisation or a prospective employer, especially if you upgrade your skills on a continuous basis. 


• Heightened communication  

The ability to communicate clearly, coherently and confidently is a great plus in today’s working environment. The maxim that actions speak louder than words is very apt and accounts for why your non-verbal behaviour is crucial for your personal and career success. 

Be mindful of your body language as it helps you build rapport with people. It enables you to display earnestness, openness and sincerity so that others will want to interact with you. The crux of the body language issue is that people with a better understanding of body language are more successful at marketing, leading and getting what they want from any situation. They are more capable of convincing people to trust them and to be perceived as possessing charisma. 

If you want to leave a lasting impression when relating with someone, you must learn to control your body language and use it to enhance your relating with others. 

  • Make appropriate eye contact is a great way to show the person you are meeting that you are sincere and confident.
  • Greet the person with a sincere smile and a warm handshake. A warm smile invites conversation and openness. The handshake often determines the comfort level and success of the meeting you would have.
  • Maintain a good posture shows alertness and makes you appear confident and vibrant. 

Saying the right thing, both verbally and physically, will go a long way towards establishing a solid foundation for a healthy growing relationship. 


• Appearance 

Do take effort to boost your personal image. Very often, you hear the phrase: “You are not responsible for what people think of you but you are responsible for what you give them to think about.” 

What opinion would you have of someone who looks old-fashioned, dons ill-fitting clothes and wears heaps of make-up? Would that person come across as competent and professional? 

Have you noticed how a person can improve their appearance markedly just by grooming and dressing well? A great haircut, clean fingernails, a smart outfit and hey presto Miss Ordinary has emerged Miss Extraordinary. 

Spruce up your image as looking successful is just as important as being successful. When you look good, you would feel good about yourself. The resultant increase in personal confidence and self-esteem can lead to significant improvement in your performance and your contribution to your organisation.  

Simply remember the pointers below: 

  • Get a great haircut that looks clean and fabulous every day.  
  • Find clothing that suits your industry and is the best you can afford. 
  • Learn how to mix and match the pieces you buy to give you variety. 
  • Wear some makeup for a more professional look. 
  • Update your look so you don’t come across as trapped in a time-warp. 
  • Maintain good hygiene habits. Bad breath and body odour are major turn-offs. 
  • When in doubt, invest time in consulting an image consultant. Ideally after one visit you should have the tools to last you a lifetime, save you just as much in time and you no longer make poor purchases. 


• Personal network

Author and editor Michael Korda wrote that the one thing people must have by the time they reach the age of 40 is a network of people they know.

Networking is likened to building human bridges that opens up possibilities for being of mutual service and a resource to one another. Networking is as much about giving as it is about gaining. 

Meet new people and connect with those you know bring fresh ideas and shared insights. If you are between jobs, expanding your circle of influence is a crucial first step to helping you in your job search process.  

Ultimately, it is not what you know that is important. More importantly, it is who you know as well as who knows you that finally reign in the arena of networking.


• Exercise 

The importance of exercise needs no further emphasis. To face new challenges in life before you, you have to be in excellent form. Be determined to keep an exercise regime that suits your lifestyle as well as your interest. Exercise can benefit you in a number of ways:

  • Improves your mood. 
  • Combats chronic diseases. 
  • Helps you manage your weight. 
  • Boosts your energy level. 
  • Promotes better sleep. 
  • Is Fun. 

The better you look, the better people will perceive you, the better you will feel, and the better you will do at work. It creates an upward, spiraling effect and once you realise your full potential, you can do great things.   

It’s not that hard. So take the time to look your best. Who knows you could get a pay rise sooner than you think. 

Gloria Tam is an associate consultant at Imageworks Asia. She was first certified in 2006 with First Impressions, UK, and then with the Association of Image Consultants International. She has also obtained her Advanced Certification in Colour & Style with Body Beautiful and the Academy of Imageworks Asia, both internationally-acclaimed advanced image consultancy bodies. She has provided her services to many organizations and hundreds of individuals.




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