Professional Image – It’s More than the Power Suit

Business Card

Professional Image includes peripherals like business cards

When most people think of professional image, they think of their clothing choices; should they wear red or orange, straight-legged jeans or boot-cut.

But image is not just about clothing choices. In fact, it is not just about personal appearance. It also includes what I like to call image peripherals. These image peripherals are items outside of your personal appearance that affect how you are perceived professionally.

In the Campaign for Success workshop, I talk about making sure your business cards and marketing material are in tip-top shape before you hand them out. But, it is not just making sure they are clean and not bent up, be sure they well designed, provide all of the pertinent information and are printed on the best paper, in the highest resolution that you can afford.

If it is within your budget, hire someone to design your material. If not, there are software programs that can help you. Be sure your business cards contain at least:

  • Company name
  • Your name and title
  • Address (if you are a home-based business, it is okay to leave this information off)
  • Phone numbers including fax if you have one, cell if you want to use it as another way to reach you
  • Email address (if you don’t have an email address, get one; there are some free or really, really inexpensive internet providers out there.)
  • Website address (again, if you don’t have one and you are self-employed, get one)

If you are printing your own business cards and marketing material, maintain a professional image by using business cards that have the clean edge and brochure paper that is pre-scored. For a sharp, crisp image, use the highest or best quality setting on your printer. It will use more ink, but it is worth it if it makes you and your business look more professional.

Remember, your professional image includes the peripherals, so make sure yours put you in a professional light.

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About Bonnie Mahaffey

Bonnie believes that the business casual environment has made it very challenging for women to compete in the corporate arena. "Perception is everything and women, historically, are not perceived as seriously business-minded when they are dressed casually. The mission of Polished Professional Image is to help women choose the most effective business image based on their professional goals and work environments."
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