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First impression

People form opinions of a stranger within three seconds of setting their eyes on them. Research has also proven that a major part of the message that you communicate is visual.

education Updated: Jan 31, 2012 18:29 IST

The lowdown
People form opinions of a stranger within three seconds of setting their eyes on them. Research has also proven that a major part of the message that you communicate is visual. Given these facts, the image you project is the strong force that influences people’s perception. The image management consulting industry is in an exciting growth phase today, particularly in India. The time is right for image consultants to establish themselves and gain great professional and financial success. As an image consultant, you need to be in sync with the changing market dynamics in the field of communications and be able to network with a wide spectrum of people. It is also important to be a good salesperson to excel in this field. Relationship management with the client, media, industry bodies, non-governmental organisations, celebrities and political parties are part and parcel of the job. You must be able to understand the industry environment panning across sectors to be able to advise clients. You should be conscious of your own image and build up a reputation of reliability and trust to help others achieve or handle success. All in all, it is an exciting profession

Clockwork
8am: Read newspapers
10am: Internal review meetings
Noon: Client meetings
4pm: Media meetings
6pm: Meetings
7pm: Leave for home

The payoff
A trainee can expect anything between Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,500 a month. An executive may make Rs 12,000 to Rs 25,000 a month.
At the managerial level, one can expect to get Rs 25,000 to Rs 45,000 a month. As a senior manager, one can be paid Rs 45,000 to Rs 70,000 a month.
An assistant director draws upwards of Rs 1 lakh a month. As a director, one may earn Rs 1.50 lakh and above a month

Skills/TRAITS
* Communication skills (oral and written)
* Interpersonal skills
* Ability to multitask
* Tactical and strategic planning
* Creative aptitude
* Adaptability

Getting there
One can opt for a bachelor’s in mass media (BMM) after Class 12. During the final year, one can specialise in either journalism or public relations.

In terms of job opportunities, one can look at pursuing a diploma in image management or an advanced diploma in image management and look for jobs in premium fashion and lifestyle companies. One can also look to enhance their existing jobs or profession on similar lines. Trained image consultants offer expert image consulting services to individuals and corporations in a variety of ways, depending on client requirements

Institutes and URLs
* Xavier Institute of Communication, Mumbai
www.xaviercomm.org
* Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune
www.simc.edu
* Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad
www.mica-india.net
* Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi with three branches
www.iimc.nic.in
* Image Consulting Business Institute, Mumbai
www.imageconsultinginstitute.com

Pros and cons
* You get to interact with celebrities and politicians
* Travel extensively
* Multitask
* Long hours
* Long struggle period may be a deterrent for some

Image management is a multi-billion dollar industry abroad and is poised to grow to similar levels in India as well Suman Agarwal, master image consultant based in Mumbai