In the Dardis Academy training course, we stress to our interns the importance of skills like business communication, selling techniques and effective presentations– all things they won’t learn from a textbook. But beyond these practical, career-focused components, we also teach our interns the importance of an often neglected “skill” – maintaining a professional image.
While a professional image won’t land you the job, it can definitely lose you the job. The difference between a professional image and a sloppy look can mean the difference between a promotion and a demotion. Professional image isn’t just about the clothes you wear –it’s a persona that effectively displays your confidence, your expertise and your passion for your work.
By arriving to work (or worse, an interview!) with a crumpled, untucked dress shirt, you portray to your colleagues that you do not value what you do or what you bring to the company. Conversely, by dressing smartly with a careful attention to fit and detail, you send the message that you are prepared to take on challenges and thrive in an evolving environment. At Dardis, we sell professional apparel for a reason – it matters!
Beyond your physical appearance, you can enhance your professional image by maintaining a professional demeanor at the office and always treating every situation as a worthwhile learning experience. Your supervisor and your colleagues take note about how you handle challenges with other teammates and how you deal with stress. Don’t let a heated moment or a difficult project break down your professionalism and threaten your career advancement opportunities.
Not sure how to hone your professional image? Start with these recommendations:
- Be authentic: Potential employers see right through a false exterior. Be genuine in your words and actions.
- Dress the part: You don’t need a fortune to invest in quality pieces that enhance your appearance and show you’re ready for the job.
- Find a mentor: Identify a mentor that embodies the professional skills you hope to also portray and look for ways you can develop similar skills.
A professional image takes time and effort to maintain, but by entering the job market with this firm foundation, you will be ready to handle everything that comes your way.
Photo credit: Dell via Flickr