Your professional image is how you project your qualities and characteristics onto the people in your profession. The assessment of these character qualities is what employers use to determine your competence.
These days, you can't just have the credentials, you must have the "know how" to carry yourself as a professional as well. This includes practicing professional etiquette, dress, and networking. You have to be the full package. Having a polished professional image is how you market this package to achieve the career you want!
What do employers notice?
There are many elements of your professional brand that employers intuitively notice. These include:
- Professional email addresses
- Appropriate cell phone ringtones
- Professional voicemail recordings
- Websites and social networking accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
- Spelling, grammar, format and language usage in your emails
- Effective writing skills in all correspondence
- Your expression of maturity in your emails and all other correspondence
- Professional conversational skills
- Your body language such as your handshake, facial expressions, eye contact, and stance
Top 10 Personal Branding tips
- Be authentic
- what are your strengths, talents, passions, goals, greatest achievements?
- Show your confidence
- if you project confidence, others will pay attention and be comfortable around you
- Perfect your elevator pitch
- how do you introduce and market yourself to others?
- Updated professional documents
- résumé, cover letter, reference page
- Professional online presence
- LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Website/Blog, Instagram
- Professional attire
- dress for the job you want, not the job you have; when in doubt err on the side of formality
- Business cards with QR code linking to your online presence
- VistaPrint is a good resource for free or inexpensive cards
- Perfect your communication skills
- even in the days of texting and Twitter, writing and speaking well still matter
- Ask for honest feedback
- where are your areas for improvement regarding your current brand
- Reassess your personal brand regularly
- the more exposure to new people, places, ideas and things, the more you evolve; your brand should reflect this change