Professional Presence: Its Importance To Your Career

If you want to advance in your career, you can borrow the idea of positioning from the marketing world. Positioning has a simple objective: to make a target group of people see a particular brand of product as the best of its kind.

What does this have to do with you? Well, if you’ve ever wondered why you don’t seem to get the respect you deserve, the financial rewards you expect or recognition for your contribution, perhaps you have not positioned yourself as a professional. You need to establish your “professional presence”.

Where do you start? Here are three aspects of your working life in which you can make the necessary changes.

Visibility

Think of yourself and what you do as a product, and the people you work with as clients. Manufacturers keep their products and brands top of mind for their customers. In the same way, you need to make sure the right people understand your value to the organization.

It’s your responsibility to know what skills and talents you have to offer, and what value they create. Look for assignments and projects that will showcase your special abilities. Take any opportunity to talk about the company to senior people, and learn as much as you can about the company so that you can do so intelligently. Can you reasonably and logically introduce something about your own department or work into the big picture?

Look out for creative ways to position yourself as a professional, whatever your job may be, so that the right people recognize your potential for upward movement and growth in the organization.

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It’s said that we make up our minds about people within six seconds of meeting them. Obviously, these fast impressions are superficial, but if they are having such an immediate impact then surely it is worth managing them.

How do you dress for work, and what does your appearance say about you? The gradual loosening of the rules around how we dress for work has been welcomed by most, but many have shown lack of judgement in how they apply the new styles. What is “business casual” anyway? It’s openness to interpretation is what causes the problem. A great deal depends on the culture of your organization, what type of business you are in, your geographic location and whether it is a city or small town, and whether or not you meet personally with clients.

There is one old piece of advice that still stands: dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Who are the people you want to respect you? Whose good opinion would you like to cultivate? Take a look at how they present themselves, and consider how you might emulate them. If he always wears a jacket to meetings, don’t show up in shirtsleeves; if she wears a smart pantsuit while others show up in jeans, veer towards her style. People relate to others who are like them, and your appearance is an important first step. In response to a survey I did on the subject of business casual dress, one woman said she liked to stay fairly formal because, as she said, “I’m young and pretty. It’s hard enough to be taken seriously, and if I show up in jeans and a teeshirt I don’t stand a chance.” Is your appearance sabotaging your professional presence?

Relationships

Develop and cultivate a respectful relationship with your peers, those above and below you on the organizational chart, and clients.

Unfortunately, many people spread gossip and unpleasant rumors about their colleagues. This is not professional conduct. In business, as in life, my mother’s advice is still good: if you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything at all.

Try as we might to be positive, it’s not possible to be upbeat and bright all the time. Still, performing your job professionally means giving the same service with the same attitude regardless of your mood. It’s not the client’s fault that you overslept this morning and missed your train; act like the professional you are, and your mood will take care of itself.

You must first see yourself as a professional before you can communicate that position to others. You’ll soon notice people see you in a different light, and you’ll have chances to undertake higher level projects. If you are job-hunting, your interviews will be more successful.

Cultivate a reputation for doing things well and on time, getting along well with others and providing first class service to clients. That’s professional presence, and it can be a strong force in helping you climb the career ladder.

Business Casual Dress Guidelines 9 Tips For Looking Sharp In Womens Casual Clothing

Are you confused about business casual dress in the workplace?

Here’s an explanation of what business casual means, and how you can put together a wardrobe that still looks professional.

Business casual dress combines the formal, dark colors of business wear, with the relaxed, comfortable look of casual wear. It’s not weekend wear, or sportswear. It’s somewhere in the middle ground.

Here are 9 dress guidelines for business casual attire:

1. Don’t think that anything goes. The biggest mistake in creating a business casual wardrobe is to think that you can just throw on anything you like. That may work for a few days. But you’ll soon find that you are running out of things to wear.

2. Keep your outfits simple. Pair a crisp shirt or blouse, or a nice sweater, with pants or a skirt that fit you well, in a neutral color. Add some accessories, such as a good watch, classic necklace or earrings, and you’re set for the workplace.

3. Plan your wardrobe. You have to plan your business casual wardrobe in the same way you plan a business formal wardrobe. You have to think about your needs, your body shape and personality, and your work environment. Then you have to shop carefully to put together a wardrobe that won’t cause you grief every morning as you wonder what to wear.

4. Create a capsule wardrobe: Create a capsule wardrobe based on a neutral pallet of navy, grey or black. Put together a few basic such as a jacket and pants or skirt that fit you well. Now you are all set to add color and accessories to suit your work style. This way you always have something to wear, and you’ll know that all the parts of your outfits work well together.

5. Dress for your industry and for your company. If you are meeting clients, in most companies it’s a good idea to have a jacket handy. A jacket instantly upgrades your look, and presents a polished, professional appearance, even if you normally wear business casual.

6. Choose your accessories carefully. You may be wearing a sweater and pants, but make sure your shoes are shined and stylish. Carry a good quality leather briefcase or handbag. Invest in a sharp-looking watch with a leather or metal band. Wear a leather belt to tie your look together.

7. Coordinate colors. Keep your color pallet simple, so everything works with every else. You don’t need to dress in charcoal grey or navy exclusively, but these neutral colors are a great basis for a capsule wardrobe. When you begin with 2 or 3 pairs of pants in black, navy or grey, you can add any color shirt or sweater and still look business-like. When you top it off with a jacket, you look ready for any business event.

8. Check your grooming. Make sure your hair is clean and has a style that suits you. Check that your fingernails are filed, with no jagged edges. Sometimes we don’t realize that we look less than fresh at the end of the day, when we may be heading out to see clients.

9. Give yourself a once-over in the mirror before you step outside. Look for loose threads, missing buttons, and scuffed heels. All of these details play an even bigger part of the picture when you wear business casual attire.

5 Significant Reasons Why You Should Consider Working From Home

When it comes to earning a living, you basically have a choice of working for someone else or working for yourself. While there are pros and cons associated with both, more people choose to work for someone else. If you have made the choice to work for someone else or you are about to enter the workforce and are not sure which option to choose, the following benefits just may help you make up your mind.

#1. Spend More Time with Your Family. No one can deny that family is important. The minute you leave your home to work for someone else in an office or other work environment, your become distant from your family and their needs. The needs of your employer become a priority and only in the direst of situations does your family have a higher concern. We’re all too familiar with how work can destroy the unit. People are spending more time at work and less with their family.

Of course, it is possible for people to become workaholics while working from home, but getting out of this mode and learning to balance family and work is much easier than when you are distant from your family. When you work from home you can greet your children or spouse as they walk through the door. You can easily arrange your work schedule to coincide with family events.

#2. Cut Your Expenses. Working from home means that you are commuting less, spending less on gasoline, eating more home-cooked meals, taking care of your children yourself, and spending less on clothes. Cutting these expense result in you having more money to save and to spend on things that are important to you.

#3. Unlimited Earning Potential. When you are not your own boss, someone else dictates what you are worth. Yes, you have the option of changing employers to make more money, but a certain dollar amount is attached to your job title. People in sales positions who work on a commission basis do have the potential to make a lot of money, but part of that money goes to the employer.

As your own boss, you are truly unlimited in the amount of money you can earn. This potential is only limited by the amount of work that you decide to put forth.

#4. Casual Work Environment. One of the many sheets of paper that you receive on your first day of employment with a company are the company rules. Within these rules is the list of clothing that is acceptable for work environment. Business casual is the option that most businesses prefer. If you work for a company that involves a significant amount of contact with clients, there is a possibility that you will have to wear more professional clothing.

People who work from home choose the attire that is acceptable for them. Many people who work from home step out of the shower and put on casual clothes and begin working. Shoes, socks, and even clothing are optional. Your workspace is your own, so you determine the dress code. Home-business owners who interact with clients face-to-face are usually not looked down upon when they are in casual clothing.

#5. Do What You Enjoy. When they work for someone else, it is seldom the case that people do what they enjoy. What is more common is that people get locked into performing a certain type of skill and just keep doing it to keep food on the table.

Life is too short for people to go around unfulfilled. When people work from home they have the option to choose the exact tasks that they perform. This one aspect of working from home can make the difference in an individual’s outlook on life and themselves.