Cultivating a Professional Presence

Cultivating a Professional Presence

Most of us are familiar with the saying, “First impressions count.”  However, conveying a professional presence is more than simply wearing a blazer or suit, or making eye contact. Here are a few tips to ensure you make a positive first impression with a potential employer:

Have Confidence 

  • Even if you are nervous, approach potential employers with confidence. To exude confidence, believe that you are worth their time and be ready to share your accomplishments.
  • Overdoing confidence can make you seem arrogant; humility is important as well.  You want to come across as genuine and authentic in your communication.
  • Review your relevant skills and knowledge areas before walking into an interview. Keeping a simple list can help generate talking points and help you provide quick responses to employers’ questions. You may also want to create a professional introduction that you can quickly recite.  Here is an example:

“Hello, my name is Marian Jones. I am applying for the Senior Business Analyst position with your company. I have a Master of Science in Project Management from Walden University and over seven years of experience in people and project management. My strengths include knowledge of project management, comfort with rapidly changing environments, and collaboration among teams. With my extensive skills in communicating with technical and non-technical stakeholders, I know that I can be an asset to your company.”

Communicate Clearly  

  • In written or email correspondence, remember to include a greeting such as “Dear Mr. Smith” or “To Whom it May Concern.” A closing that includes your name is also extremely important.
  • Greet everyone you meet with a “hello.” Remember also to say “please” and “thank you.”
  • Be aware of your body language and tone of voice. Your body language will say even more than your verbal communication, so make sure your overall image stays positive. Even if you are waiting in the lobby, you never know who else is there or may be watching.
  • Create personal business cards with your contact information on the front and include a professional summary on the back.

 Dress for the Position You Want 

  • Any time you approach an employer, whether you are interviewing or simply inquiring about a position, ensure you are dressed for the position you want.
  • Professional dress does not need to include a suit or skirt and heels. A blazer, button-down shirt or blouse, and a nice pair of slacks or khakis, can be sufficient depending on the position and compan What you wear to apply for a management position in a financial company will not be the same as what you will wear to apply for a nursing position.
  • No matter what you wear, ensure it is clean and free of wrinkles and stains.

Would you like to gain additional tips to enhance your professional image?  We recommend the following resources:

Ten Steps to Improve Your Professional Image – Webinar

Ten Tips for Networking at Professional Gatherings

Written by Internship Advisor, Katy Peper

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