What We Can Learn From Casting Directors

By Denise Taylor

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Casting directors have a pivotal role in the success of a film, choosing the actor who will fully portray a character. At casting sessions actors will often try and guess the type of person and adapt how they appear. I remember reading many years ago that when Martine McCutcheon went for the role of Tiffany in EastEnders she wore clothes to make it easy to be seen as the character.

When you go for interview, or seek to be considered for a promotion, are you giving out the right image - through your clothes, body language and more.

Through my psychology studies I came across the work of Erving Goffman, author of The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, his book discusses how we use props such as our home and clothes to create an impression and also discusses the backstage where people prepare their image, and also relax when they don't think they are being watched.

I've discussed this in my book - Getting the Career You Want: A Practical Guide which was published earlier this year.

Social Psychologists study impression management, a theory which states that the impressions people gain of us are congruent with the impression we want to convey.

We can use this in our search for a new job.

Applying These Lessons in Your Job Search

If we want to move into a new work area we can increase our chance of success by demonstrating that we share the same values as the people currently working in that area.

If you find that the managers working at the company you want to join all belong to a particular organisation such as The Rotary Club, you could choose to join so as to meet them on a social basis.  In discussion you could demonstrate similar views rather than challenge the group view on social topics such as government initiatives.

Thinking about the organisation you want to join, what clothes do the people wear in this organisation? If they wear stylish clothes you might not want to be too conservatively dressed and vice versa. Again using impression management to fit in.

... and When Seeking a Promotion

Whether you seek a promotion within your organisation or a move to a new company think about the image you give and if you can improve your chance of success through actions and props.

I advise my career coaching clients who are seeking promotion to think about the role they want and make sure they dress 'as if' they are in the role. It might mean having a briefcase rather than a shopping bag and wearing a suit rather than casual clothes.  It could also mean personal development and reading business literature so you are ready to comment on topical issues.

I'd love to know what you think and you can make a comment on this blog.

Brought to you by Denise Taylor, award winning career psychologist. Follow Denise on @amazingpeople


Image courtesy of Polerize / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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