Gift Ideas For The Aspiring Executive

Executive ResumesSuccess Strategies

gift ideas for the aspiring executive
It can be a challenge to select a good gift for someone who is looking for a job or working on being promoted. We like our gifts to be things that delight and get used (at least that’s my goal in gift-giving) and the “executive gift” often is not in those categories. So what does an aspiring Santa do?

Research, Research, Research

There’s a reason that appearance is important, particularly in your career. People make snap judgments based on your appearance. They might be wrong about you, but if there’s no further relationship, then there’s no way to find out why the first impression was wrong. Because of this, gifts that help create and maintain the executive image are usually very welcome.
The challenge is that there is no single business uniform. Different industries and different geographic regions have different standards of “dress for success”. So if you are selecting a good gift for the aspiring executive, then you need to know what will be helpful. Here’s a list of suggestions:

  • high-quality jewelry — classic always works, but a unique piece can be perfect for making a statement. Think good watches, real gold cuff links, or tie pins and earrings, etc.
  • high-quality tie — yes, the tie can become a joke when Dad gets so many, but if ties are worn, good ties look good longer.
  • high-quality pen — any old ball-point pen can write, but a classy pen makes the writer feel like a million bucks.
  • high-quality portfolio or case — there will always be papers to lug around, so make it a career statement.
  • high-quality writing services — if they need help with resumes or job coaching, provide a way to get personalized assistance from a professional.

Do you notice the theme? A status symbol is an investment tool. High-quality stuff has a reputation for a reason. Because it is well made, it lasts a long time. The people your aspiring executive wants to join are wearing or using high-quality stuff, so giving a gift that helps them fit in is perfect.

How Creative Can A Work Wardrobe Be?

Career & Workplace

how creative can a work wardrobe be?
It was interesting to see the comments on Anna Akbari’s DailyWorth post. “Don’t Dress for the Job You Want” is a statement that seems to fly in the face of the general consensus on working wardrobes. But she does make some good points to consider when dressing to express yourself instead of your position:

  • demonstrate that you get it
  • connect with your audience
  • exude confidence

Context is Everything

Those first two points are a reminder that we work with other people. The way we dress does affect how others react to us, and it’s naive to insist it doesn’t matter. To quote Ms. Akbari, “demonstrating that you understand the unwritten dress codes and larger ethos of any given context is the first rule of successful self-presentation.”
You have to connect before you can communicate, and if everyone around you is wearing a “uniform”, it shows they are all part of the same group culture. Wearing at least part of that uniform, or wearing the uniform in an acceptably unique way, will be a signal that you belong even though you are a bit different. If you don’t care about the group, you don’t try to connect or get what they are about — and at that point, why are you working there? In an interview situation, why are you saying you want to work where you don’t get the group’s culture?
There are times when a unique status symbol is an investment tool, but it entirely depends on the group you are in. Cowboy boots communicate one thing in Dallas and a different thing in D.C., but there is more to the symbolism than identity. If those boots are high-quality and well-kept, the wearer is signalling confidence even if everyone else is in tied-up Oxfords. That confidence is important, because you need it however you dress. If wearing a unique item makes you feel more like “yourself” and gives you confidence, that’s good. But make sure you are respecting the context of your surroundings.