10 Style Tips For The Young Professional | How To KICK MORE ASS At Work
How to Appear Professional
Appearing professional begins with dressing professionally. It doesn't end there, though. You also need to conduct yourself as a professional, keep up your appearances in other ways, and maintain your skills over time.
Know your office's dress code.Most offices will spell out their dress code for you. However, if they don't, take a look around when you interview. You should be able to gauge what's appropriate to wear to the office by what other people are wearing. For instance, if everyone is wearing a suit and jacket, don't show up for work in jeans.
- If you interview for a job, make sure to ask about the dress code if your interviewer does not mention it. This will show that you are committed to sticking with the office’s dress code policies.
Find your brands.It will make it easier for you to keep your wardrobe up if you find particular brands that work for you in your price range. Not every brand fits the same, nor does every style fit every person. Invest some time visiting different stores to find what you like up front, and then you won't have to spend as much time when you need to update your clothes later.
- If the brands you like best are out of your price range, try shopping for them at second hand stores and discount outlets.
Understand modesty is your friend.The office is not the place for short skirts, low-cut blouses, tight pants, or halfway unbuttoned shirts, for men or women. Keep your clothes more modest, and it is more likely that you will be seen as a professional.
- Keep in mind that you only get 1 chance to make a first impression.
- Also, remember that while modesty is important, your work performance and personality is what will set you apart.
Dress up more than you think you need to.This rule is true especially when you are meeting someone for the first time, being interviewed, or attending a big meeting, such as a press release or a meeting with an important client. If you overdress, you'll still be seen as professional, while if you under dress, you'll be seen as unprofessional. That doesn't mean you need to wear tails or a formal dress to a stockholder's meeting; however, you should try to wear your top professional clothing.
- Opt for muted colors when choosing an outfit for work. Black, dark grey, and navy are always good choices.
- Keep your makeup simple and subdued as well, such as by wearing minimal makeup and selecting neutral tones, such as nude and light pink lipsticks.
Focus on the details.It's the details that put you over the top professionally. For instance, you may have a well-made suit, but if it's covered in dog hair, you're not going to look professional. In addition, you may have nice shoes, but if they're heavily scuffed up, it takes away from your appearance.
- Take a moment before you leave your house to scan yourself from head to toe for things like pet hair, tears in your clothing or stockings, and scuffed shoes.
Don't be afraid to add a little flair.You can add personal touches to your outfit and still be considered professional. Maybe you like a funny tie, or maybe you enjoy a pretty hair clip. As long as it's not too flashy, it's fine.
- Steer clear of large earrings, visible tattoos, pungent colognes, and anything else that might offend your interviewers, coworkers, or clients.
Show up on time.Being on time actually means making sure you're there a few minutes early in the morning, ready to work. Also, when you are supposed to attend meetings, always be on time.
- If you do end up being late at some point, having a reputation for being on time will be helpful. It will be more likely that you will be forgiven for being late.
Take appropriate breaks.If you're supposed to take an hour lunch break, make sure you're back within the hour. Also, follow your break rules. If you're allowed 4 breaks a day at 10 minutes each, make sure to stick to that.
Know your job.You should be trained to do your job when you first arrive. However, if you find yourself a year or two in, and you still don't have all the knowledge you need, ask someone for help. If you want to be discreet, ask someone who works at the same level as you to give you a few pointers.
- Similarly, if you don't understand a new assignment, ask for clarification from your boss. Your boss usually won't mind because you're just trying to get the job done right.
Stay on task.While you're at work, be at work. Don't be on the phone with non-business calls except for the rare emergency. Avoid social media and other distractions. Focus on the tasks at hand.
Keeping Up Appearances
Keep your personal and professional life separate.While it's fine to mention your family once and while, it is best to avoid going into too much detail about your personal life. Avoid discussing family issues with your coworkers. If you have a medical issue that could affect your job performance, talk to someone from your human resources department. Similarly, watch how you present yourself on social media.
Buy into the culture.Every office has a different culture, including unspoken rules. Some are more relaxed, while others may be more rigid. Watch people closely to pick up on the unspoken rules. For instance, maybe one unspoken rule is that you need to use email if your question can wait a while.
Keep your office clean.If you have piles of papers and coffee cups everywhere, you'll be viewed as unprofessional. However, you can add a few bits of personal charm; just keep it office appropriate. Pictures of your family are fine; pictures of half-naked men or women should stay at home.
- Pictures that are lewd or offensive are inappropriate for your work space. Keep them at home or only in your private, non-work spaces.
Speak distinctly and thoughtfully.The best way to sound professional is to keep the verbal tics out of your speech. One way to do that is to speak more slowly, taking time to think about what you're saying as you say it.
- If you aren't sure what verbal tics you use, try taking a recording of yourself when you're talking on the phone. You'll be able to notice it better when you play back than you normally do when you're speaking.
- Try to eliminate the "ums" and "likes."
Treating Others Well
Give other people your respect.Being respectful, instead of catty or sarcastic, is a way of showing other people that you are a true professional. Encourage others to speak up in meetings, and don't belittle what they have to say. Don't respond rudely to people, even if you think the idea sounds silly.
Listen well.Part of treating others well is listening well. It shows other people that you actually care what he or she has to say, and it fosters true conversation, as you're not just waiting until they finish talking so you can say what you want.
- Remember that listening is different than hearing. It is important to make sure that you fully understand what the other person says and consider their point of view.
Skip the gossip.If you talk about people behind their back, eventually it will get back around to them, which won't make anyone happy. If you stay out of the drama, you'll definitely appear more professional.
Acknowledge your mistakes.If something you worked on goes awry, don't push it off on someone else. Own up to it, and figure out how to do better in the future. If you realize something is going wrong in the middle of a project, bring it up with your boss; maybe together you can figure out how to fix it.
Make honesty your policy.Professionals tell the truth about their work, both to their co-workers and their clients. Lying will eventually be found out and make you look unprofessional.
Be confident, not combative.Though you should be confident in your work, you shouldn't try to take others down to make your work look better. For instance, if you finish your work quicker than others, your boss will notice without you crowing about it.
Use people's names.People love to hear the sound of their name. If you use peoples' names often, they will feel more respected by you.
- For example, when you pass a coworker in the hall, don’t just say “hello.” Say, “Hello, Craig!” or “Hi, Annie!”
Maintaining Your Skills
Peruse the latest news.Read widely in your field. Look at current news, as well as information on related companies. For instance, if you're in the jewelry business, keep tabs on what your competition is doing.
- Being well-versed in your company’s goings-on will also help you to stand out with management. It will make it easier for you to contribute during meetings when your boss has asked for employee input.
Keep your skills up-to-date.Take continuing education classes when possible. Go to training courses. Read current textbooks published in your field. Make sure you keep your skills up-to-date.
- Try checking your local community college for courses, or look into an online course.
Become a member of a professional organization.Most fields have some type of professional organization. Those organizations will often have local meetings where you can brush up on local news. In addition, they'll likely have large annual meetings where you can meet with other professionals and hear panels and lectures in your field.They may also put out newsletters that provide you with updates about the field.
Take on extra assignments.While this step doesn't sound like much fun, it can help you build skills and experience. In addition, your boss will notice that you're willing to take jobs that no one else wants, which can help you when promotion time comes around.
- For example, if your boss mentions that there is a new project that requires a team leader, volunteer to head it up.
QuestionHow can I be honest and remember details correctly in a professional setting?
Certified Life CoachCertified Life CoachExpert AnswerOne of the wonderful benefits of being honest is that you won't have very much to remember at all because they are facts and therefore remain constant. If you have things that are difficult to remember, consider keeping a notepad or agenda book so you can bullet point things that you may need to reference to jog your memory later. You may also employ this method electronically using a Word document .Thanks!
QuestionIs it okay to wear your hair loose for work?
Certified Life CoachCertified Life CoachExpert AnswerYes, you may wear your hair loose for work. Just make sure your hair is well groomed and styled in a way that cannot be perceived as a distraction.Thanks!
QuestionDoes wearing a watch make you look professional?Top AnswererYes, a watch in an appropriate style will often make you look more professional, since you will give the impression that you care about being punctual. Just make sure it is a nice watch - you don't have to buy a designer watch for hundreds of dollars, but something out of the kid's section won't do! Something tasteful with a metal finish and a metal or leather band is usually ideal.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I improve the work you I in the office to improve my service to the public?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry to focus on the key aspects of the services you offer. Consider things like target demographic, type of services provided, types of services and the quality your competition offers, as well as aspects of your own position. What points tie directly into your own responsibilities? How would you look at the services of your company as a client? What would you look for? Try to find all those common points and tie them back to what you yourself can potentially improve.Thanks!
QuestionCan only professionals join LinkedIn?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, anyone can join LinkedIn to highlight work experience.Thanks!
Video: Being A Professional: Dale Atkins at [email protected]
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