Last week, Cindy passed on a very interesting blog from Hannah Morgan that consisted of a checklist for a job search. See http://hannahmorgan.typepad.com/hannah_morgan/2009/02/check-list-for-a-job-search.html
This is a very good list for the professionals in today’s marketplace because, as we know, people are not staying with organizations as long as they used to. It is important for the professional/job seeker to maintain a robust culmination of well-crafted job search tools. In addition to absolutely everything on this list, I argue there is one very important omission that should be near the top of the list. It is something that can close the deal or close the door within 5 seconds. It is a person’s professional image.
I manage a large number of professional-level Master’s students each year, and it is not coincidental that often times the students who struggle the most finding a position are also those who struggle with presenting a polished professional image. This is not always the case, but it occurs often enough to be recognized. Some professionals have a natural knack for creating a polished and professional image, while others struggle to grasp what kind of investment it takes to create an image that promotes their “brand” instead of one that hinders it.
I have had students, friends, and coworkers that are so incredibly intelligent, well spoken, driven, organized, essentially have everything listed on items 1-21 of the checklist, but struggle with presenting themselves as a crisp and polished professional. Studies have shown that image is an incredible determinant of success in business. In business, everyone is selling something…whether it be a service, product, or information but regardless people want to purchase from people who are well put together. So businesses want to hire people who are well put together.
My addition to the magnificent list presented by Hannah is for every Job seeker to have some sort of image profile done, whether that be professionally or by someone you can trust to be honest with you and by someone who has the credibility to give the feedback.
The saying is true, “You feel how you look” so why not take the extra step to make sure you are always at your professional best.