How virtual presence can help you shine online & rock a career transition
Updated: Mar 10, 2021
Career transition feels like the norm these days for women. It’s our collective reset! Whether you’re looking to return to the workforce, laid off, furloughed or hoping to pivot careers and have a second act, developing your virtual presence is an important piece of your professional toolkit.
How you show up online can make the difference between getting a second interview, landing a job, and connecting with your clients!
If you’re job searching remotely, are you asking yourself:
How can I show that I’m a qualified candidate behind the camera?
How can I project confidence from the waist up?
How do you stand out on zoom?
In this EvolveMe interview we’re highlighting guest speakers from the Reinvention Collective Tania Sterl of SterlyonStyle and Alyssa Peek of Peek Photography who joined as in the training. We’ve learned so much from their tips and tricks of how to shine online!
Read more of Alyssa and Tana’s advice on how to have virtual presence and stand out below. Trust us - you’ll learn invaluable tips on how to show up as even more of yourself -- even from the waist up!
EvolveMe: What do you see as an opportunity for women in midlife to create a virtual presence?
Alyssa: There is such a great opportunity to be seen! Before the pandemic, in real life in person meetings it was easy to stay in the back of the room and not take up space. Now on video meetings (which may become a new norm for work), everyone's real estate is the same size box.
I use the Brady Bunch grid as the perfect example. Carol and Mike, the parents, have the same size box as the kids. And Marcia's square is the same size as Jan's. What this means is your boss or the person with the corner office now has the same size "office" as everyone else.
This is a huge opportunity to be seen and control the message. Control the message by showing up to virtual meetings with intention. Show up as you want to be seen including your energy, posture, wardrobe, and office. You want the corner office? Show up like you are already sitting in it.
Same goes for your headshot. You have control over the image that you use on your profiles. Make sure that it represents what you look like today and conveys your spirit and aspirations.
EvolveMe: Tania, we’ve heard you say “dress for the future you!”. What does that mean for women who are looking to make a career change now? How do they figure out how to dress for the role they aspire to?
Tania: We can find ourselves stuck in the past, of what was. Now is the time for reinvention, reviving our sense of value. Dress with intention for that future goal. Dress for the role you desire. See yourself stepping into that office, that zoom meeting, dressed confidently in a manner that shows your value, experience, and ability to perform and deliver. It makes you feel what’s possible for yourself!
You’re the expert! Picture yourself running that role, being the boss of that role, how will you dress to impress, inspire and influence those around you? Either the one you are reporting to, or those who will be reporting to you.
Set the example. Research the industry, research the company, how business formal, business casual, business creative is it? Then, dress for it! Put your mark on it. Blend in yet stand out as the expert in your industry, with style.
EvolveMe: Can you create trust through the camera that’s needed to develop business relationships?
Alyssa: When meeting someone new for business or personal reasons creating a feeling of trust is the most important attribute. Trusting means that you think they are reliable, you have confidence in them and you feel safe with them physically and emotionally.
The best way to convey all this is make eye contact. Easily said, GOOD LIGHTING! If you are back lit or sitting in a dark room the person on the other side of the screen cannot see your face and look you in the eye.
As for the static virtual presence of your headshot, it is important that your headshot is current and looks like you. If you have an old headshot the question I ask is, "do you not feel confident in who you are today?'
EvolveMe: Often what’s holding women back from taking risks in their career is themselves. How can you make women’s inner confidence shine on the outside with style? How can you help them combat imposter syndrome through their image?
Tania: We are constantly dressing for our “roles” in life. Worker, care-taker, wife, mother, partner, and more. So think of it this way. Business is like a stage and co-workers, clients, employers are the “audience” so dress to play the part. Dress to express the true you, dress to convey your value, own it!
Your clothing can become your “armor” your “uniform” or as I like to refer to it as your “fashion formula.” Define your fashion formula for success. Use your clothing, your style to support you, and give you confidence. No one needs to know what’s going on “underneath.” That's the beauty and power of clothes. There may be few things we can control, but we can take control of our image. Before you hop on that zoom call, take a look in the mirror, hair and makeup done, dressed and ready, and say “I am ready, I am worth it, I’ve got this!”
EvolveMe: What’s one thing anyone can do to instantly elevate your style while on virtual meetings?
Tania: I will advise not just one, but 3 things!
1) Wear color, remember to wear your jewelry, and have your hair and make-up done (if you wear it). Wearing a color that is not black or white -- colors like blues, purples, deep berry reds. Colors that compliment your hair, eye, and skin tone. It will energize you and the viewer!
2) Remember to wear your jewelry. Keep it simple. Studies prove that women are perceived as more successful when they wear jewelry.
3) With make-up think: eyes, cheeks, lips defined for a natural, vibrant glow. And be prepared! Have 3-5 good go-to tops, blouses, cardigan + collared shirt + scarf, or well-fitting jacket and top ready to go for virtual meetings. Think of that virtual meeting as “show time!” Just as a newscaster or morning show host is “camera-ready” Get yourself “camera-ready” and glow!
EvolveMe: It’s fun to think about this question -- how can we all have a "corner office" at home?
Alyssa: This is all about visual storytelling. What is the story you want to tell? If it is the corner office, what does that mean to you and what does that look like? My #1 tip here is that a plain background that doesn't say anything negative is better than a unprofessional background.
People are picking up on everything in the frame of your video. It’s important that everything in that frame speaks to your brand, your goals. Messy piles of paper? Boxes on the floor? What does this say about you? Don't take it for granted that people know why the mess is there. All it says is "disorganized and distracted". Control the message with a background that represents your brand and your goals. You own that corner!
Now that’s a sentiment worth ending on! Learn more about Alyssa Peek at Peek Photography and Tania Sterl at SterlonStyle .
Join the next Reinvention Collective cohort and experience their training first hand! Learn more at https://www.evolveme.work/reinvention-collective.