You can be the most competent and productive person in the office, or the candidate with the best qualifications and most attractive resume, and yet still get passed over for a new position or promotion.
That’s because, unfortunately, competence is only one factor in courting the favor of your boss or a prospective hiring manager. People often associate a person’s image with their ability to perform well in other areas – also known as the “halo effect.”
This makes it incredibly important to develop a professional image that gives you an added edge over your competition. Here are three key ways to improve your professional image and stand out.
Your Look Goes a Long Way
We’ve all heard the cliché about “dressing for the job you want”, but it turns out this is more than just a tired old saying. Ninety-three percent of communication in the workplace is nonverbal, so you should always make sure that you’re presenting the image of your best self when you’re at your job.
In 2019, you’re more likely than ever to encounter offices with a “relaxed dress code”. While this may be a great way to let employees feel relaxed at work, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should be showing up every day in a t-shirt and mesh shorts. Regardless of what may be allowed, sticking to a business casual look for your day-to-day is a great way to showcase yourself to your employers and co-workers. If you’re still not sure what styles to choose, take visual cues from your boss or other well-respected co-workers.
Your appearance is much more than what clothes you wear, however. Practicing good hygiene is arguably more important than what clothes you’re wearing. This may seem obvious to you, but it may surprise you that some people still don’t quite understand how important good hygiene is. Poor hygiene can do everything from negatively impacting your co-workers’ morale to increasing the spread of germs in the office.
Keeping yourself clean and well-dressed are the simple first steps to feeling good and sticking out from the crowd.
Confidence is Key
Speaking of feeling good about yourself, confidence has been said to be one of the top three traits employers are looking for when interviewing candidates, and it certainly continues to benefit you once you’ve been hired. Finding and maintaining a strong level of confidence in what you do is vital to succeeding at your job. Of course, being knowledgeable, educated, and talented, are all very important too, but it could be argued that without confidence, these other traits won’t be as noticeable.
Without self-confidence, you’ll be less likely to speak up for yourself or pursue career opportunities. If you believe in yourself and your abilities, you’ll be more inclined to contribute to the conversation and let your raw talent shine through!
Of course, knowing the importance of confidence and actually feeling confident are two very different things; confidence is not something that can be easily switched on and off. However, there are many ways for you to build your confidence levels by utilizing the tools and gifts that you already have.
Your Attitude is a Part of Your Image, Too
According to a recent Gallup poll, only 15% of people worldwide feel engaged and happy at their job. So if you’re looking to stand out at work, one of your best options may be actively spreading positivity. A negative attitude can be a real drag on co-workers, morale, and company culture. Negativity can be contagious too; once bad vibes settle in, it can be hard to get them out. This can be especially true if the job in question causes a large amount of stress. No one wants to work in a place full of negativity, but sometimes people become so stuck in their day-to-day that they don’t see opportunities to have fun. A smile, and a positive attitude can easily cut through such an atmosphere and will always inspire others to help you spread good vibes.
Like confidence, positivity isn’t always something you can control, but there are certain practices you can utilize that will help you stay of the right track. If stress is part of your daily struggle, try using meditation or mental health apps to get you in a better mindset before going to work each day. Maintaining a positive attitude is an easy way to boost your professional image. A friendly, encouraging demeanor is a great way to bond with co-workers, build confidence, and get noticed.
Written by: Capri Fiello