Four Tips for Creating a Stand Out Professional Image

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Creating a stand-out professional Image is the next stepping stone.

Outstanding Performance is essential and has a 10% influence on career advancement, but Image contributes 30% to career success (Harvey Coleman, 1996).

Image is the impression others have of you.  It is your reputation and personal brand.

“You now have to decide what ‘image’ you want for your brand. Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the market place.”  David Ogilvy

Tips for Creating a Stand-out Professional Image

Attitude.

“The Only Difference Between a Good Day and a Bad Day is Your ATTITUDE.” Motivational Speaker Dennis S. Brown.

It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it.  Attitude influences that reaction.

Do you project confidence and self-control in managing a challenging business situation?  Conversely, are there sometimes outbursts of excitability or cynicism that create a rift in business relationships?

That split-second choice of how to react to a situation sways the Image others have of you.

Moreover, reactions shape perceptions about readiness to advance in responsibility and visibility.  So, carefully choose your attitude and reaction.

Appearance. 

The way you look speaks loudly without uttering a word.

When assessing appearance, observers may draw unsupported conclusions about:

  • intelligence
  • financial success
  • authority
  • influence
  • career advancement potential
  • promotion readiness

Likewise, hair style, shoe choice, and too colorful, inappropriately fitted and tattered attire may send unfavorable non-verbal messages.

Look for clues about appropriate appearance from senior managers in the organization.

  • A well-manicured mustache and beard are options if senior managers set the pace.
  • If suits instead of casual skirts and blazers are the norm, consider mirroring the attire.

Weigh personal preference with company culture. Make appearance decisions to positively impact Image and career advancement opportunity.

Etiquette. 

Demonstrating good manners is non-negotiable.

A prospective manager, client, sponsor, advocate or mentor may be watching.  A testimony of civility could distinguish you during career advancement opportunity discussions.

“A part of survival in business is realizing that bad manners can limit your career.” IBM Retiree

Choose civility.

Professional Network.

Build a wide, deep, and authentic professional network.

Interact and build professional relationships with senior leaders, managers and colleagues.  Take action:

  • Connect others within your network to meet their needs.
  • Get to know individuals before you need them and in advance of asking for assistance.
  • Release connections from your network, and be okay when others release you.

Learn something valuable from every relationship.  Focus on what to start, stop or continue for personal development.

Manage perceptions, attend to your network, and reap the benefits of a stronger professional Image.

Develop a stand-out professional Image to establish a foundation for gaining Exposure, the final topic in this series.

Reference

Coleman, H. J. (1996). Empowering Yourself: The Organizational Game Revealed.  Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.

Lillian Davenport, SPHR, SHRM – SCP, CTACC, Principal, End View Solutions, LLC

Lillian Davenport

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Lillian Davenport is a coach, consultant, and leadership strategist. Her signature program, M3 LeadershipSM, prepares you to enhance and develop your self-awareness, embrace your inner strength, and lead with confidence, courage, and impact.

Lillian’s career as a human resources leader includes roles at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Woodforest National Bank, and American International Group, Inc. (AIG), where she leveraged employee relations, and diversity, equity, and inclusion expertise in leadership development.