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Essential Tips to Become an Image Consultant

Mukta Gaikwad
Being an image consultant is one of the most challenging jobs. It requires excellent people and communication skills to deal with a variety of clients that may hire you. Beyond basic skills, there are a few more which one needs to acquire to become a professional image consultant.
Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.
-Epictetus, Greek Philosopher
A long time after we have experienced something, the way we remember it is by the 'imagery' it leaves us with. Such is the power of images! Riveting, absorbing, gut-wrenching, gripping, and sometimes transfixing; images are what we use to make choices.
Here, the image in question just does not refer to a picture, it, indeed, goes a little beyond that. An image is an experience. It is a feeling about something or someone, which leaves an impression, and as it has always been true, first impressions are always the lasting one.
As an image consultant, it is your role to help your clients improve these impressions for rewarding careers. An image consultant is essentially a person who helps others market themselves, build a positive image, overhaul wardrobes, change physical appearances and tweak verbal communication and etiquette. So, what really makes an effective image consultant?

How to Become an Image Consultant

Tip 1: Certifications and Training

To begin a career in any field, it is important to get adequately trained and certified. The first step you need to take is enroll yourself in a professional training course, such as one with the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI). There are other institutions too which run courses on training aspiring image consultants.
The three aspects of image consulting that you will need to understand in depth are, critical analysis of client requirements, providing consultation, and finally designing and implementing the plan. It is impeccable, tailor-made consulting and guiding, which renders absolute customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Tip 2: Recognize Your Core Competency

An image consultant is an umbrella term given to a person who helps others change their sensibilities towards fashion, accessorizing, personal grooming habits, body language, social etiquette, and every tiny detail which contributes to our personality. When there are so many areas to be covered, knowing your core competency always becomes an added advantage.
For instance, knowing that your inherent acumen for good taste is in fashion, will help you focus on honing other skills. The other advantage that this provides is the ability to search for an appropriate market.

Tip 3: Practice Makes One Perfect

There is no denying the fact that practice makes a man perfect. An image consultant's job is mainly based on making rightful observations, understanding finer nuances of a person's lifestyle, character, likes, and dislikes.
Getting experience in this field is as important as getting a relevant experience. Learning through application of theory helps in perfecting one's skills. Instead of working with a huge number of clients at the same time, try to make your work focused on certain types of clients. This will help you understand your own skill sets better.
For instance, maybe you can work better with women than with men. Knowing these little things about yourself will help you a great deal in fine-tuning your consulting.

Tip 4: Intern With a Mentor for Experience

Gaining experience is the key to having a better hold of your knowledge. This helps you in applying what you have learned so far. While you are trying to make it big in the industry of image consultancy, try to look for quality of experience, rather than quantity of experience.
This means, try to seek work in different areas of image consultancy, such as fashion, language, etiquette, or changing attitudes. Also, work with an array of people ranging from men, women, and children from different social strata and spectrum. 
This will help you understand your expertise, and the skills you need to sharpen further. Finding yourself a good mentor during your apprenticeship will definitely help you learn all those finer nuances that textbooks only mention.
An important rule of image consulting is to build your own image. Treating yourself as a client will gain you the first experience in this field. As your job demands changing the way people project themselves, it will be met with a lot of resistance. No change comes easy. To make yourself competitive, treat your clients the way you would want to be treated.