How much is your professional image worth? There seems to still be a large number of people who feel a professional image is not important. For that matter, there are just as many who don’t see having a positive image as being worth any either.
Successful people attribute their success to a pattern of mutually beneficial interpersonal relationships, as much as it is being due to their technical skills or business knowledge. Their communication and the image they present create the first impression – often the lasting impression – from the people they meet.
Bad Image Will Cost You
How you present yourself is the first step of acceptance or rejection a client…or new friend… will develop.
A number of studies show most people make decisions about a new acquaintance within the first thirty seconds they enter the room with each other. Over 85% will decide to reject or continue to advance with the interaction within the first two minutes of exposure to one another.
As far as online impressions the decisions are made in microseconds. See a cartoon character in a person’s avatar and a personal profile completely void of the community they reside results in over 90% of online viewers clicking off the site with in five seconds.
Either form of interaction does not give you much time to make a good impression.
Personal appearance plays a epic role in developing a professional image.
Professional Appearance Counts
The standard advice given by image consultants has always been to dress for the job you want, not the job you have currently. Even in this day of more casual dressing for work, your professional image will serve you well when seeking a job, promotion, or closing a sale.
A professional appearance sets you apart from coworkers who are less concerned about projecting a successful, professional image. Here are a few Guidelines for Business Casual Dress and for Business Casual Dress in a Manufacturing Work Environment. These dress code guidelines will serve you well anywhere in today’s casual environment.
Sharp Online Appearance Is A Must
Needless to say, how you look online will impact how others treat you online. To keep from falling victim of being portrayed as someone hiding something about themselves it is imperative a high definition headshot self photo be predominately displayed in all of your online profiles. There is no exception to this rule. REPEAT: No Exceptions!!
Social networking has been around for over 12 years. In the beginning being online was mostly for entertainment purposes. This allowed for a less than professional appearance to become the norm.
Now, the internet is the archive every employer, investor, boyfriend, girlfriend, business partner and parent will use to check on someone’s professionalism. Over 88% of the searches made on Google are for someone’s proper name or business title. The consequences to not being found or being found but showing your photo being of a dog could result in many consumers, clients or potential contacts to move on.
World of Social is Changing
Social spaces like Google+ are putting forth tremendous efforts to advice the people creating a Google+ account on the importance of using their real name. Google is trying to help people be found and not posting a real name or a photo is not going to be taking very seriously. The important thing here is, everyone is out to be found online. Google+ is the only place to showcase who you are and increase your probability to be Found. If you are not on the internet to be Found..the question would then be..why are you on the internet?
So what is your professional image worth?
Depending on who you talk to, your online image as a business owner is at least worth the value of your business. If you are an employee your appearance should be at least worth the value of your job. If you are owner or principle of a business online your online appearance should be worth the value of the content you provide on your product or service.
As far as your online personal..or social..image, it is just as important. Gone…I repeat, GONE….are the days where hiding behind a graphic conceals your identity. Everyone has learned how to deal with the pranksters of the internet. Appearing as one, or not showing a real image of yourself plays against building a serious online community or following.
Obviously, there is a lot at stake on how you look to others. Bottomline: If you look like you know what you are doing it is perceived, until proven otherwise, you know what you are doing. So do the right thing..post a real headshot of yourself and tell people who you really are and what part of the world you reside. It does make a difference.
Let me know how I can help.