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Part III: Notice Your Network > 11. Look the Part

11. Look the Part

—Ed Cortese (Robb Report)

In his many marketing jobs, Ed Cortese learned to think of himself as the head executive of "Ed Cortese Inc." and to make sure he looked the part every day. No matter what hat he wore at work—and we all wear a lot of different hats at our jobs these days—he looked like George Clooney on the set of Ocean's 11—relaxed and quietly confident. Ed shows that looking the part is more a state of mind than a style of dress.

"Operate your career as if you're your own little company and you've been contracted to do the work," Ed says. "Stand up with your back straight, with a big smile, and be proud of who you are."

Ed's philosophy helped him get his foot in the door of New York's fashion marketing world right out of college, but you don't have to be in the fashion industry to use his advice. The main thing is to use your physical image to project that you have the smarts and the confidence to get the job done—whatever that job might be. On an average day, Ed might wear a dark suit and white shirt when he's in the office all day, but he brings a blazer and loafers to switch into if he has to have lunch with a client in a more relaxed setting. Whatever outfit he wears, Ed says he uses his posture and his whole demeanor as a tool to communicate the message that he's competent and valuable. And that's not all: Ed always has a quick elevator speech in his....


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