Building a credible image can be difficult when you’re a student just beginning to pursue professional opportunities. To make the process easier and improve your professional relationships, follow these 12 tips:
- Put yourself out there. To help boost your professional image, you first have to create one for yourself. Attend networking events, contact professionals in your field, and build good relationships to let others know you’re eager to join the industry.
- Know your goals. Networking involves talking about yourself and asking questions about your industry. Be sure focus on relevant topics by defining your goals.
- Be honest. When talking to professionals in your field, always be honest about your goals and skills. Your unique experiences can have a positive impact on employers, and you might be surprised at their openness.
- Use good body language. Your posture and facial expressions can either be positive or negative. Use head nods, smiles, and confident postures to communicate positivity.
- Be concise. When talking about your goals, learn to communicate concisely so you can show off your speaking skills and avoid boring your audience.
- Ask questions. People like to talk about themselves. Learn about your industry and let your contacts feel good by asking about their professional journeys.
- Have confidence. Without confidence, others have a hard time believing in your abilities. If you convey self-assurance and capability, though, your contacts might leave feeling positive about your talents.
- Be teachable. Industries are constantly changing, so it’s important for entry-level professionals to be eager and open to learning new concepts and techniques.
- Dress professionally. One of the easiest ways to make a good first impression is to dress appropriately. Find out the dress code of the networking event or business you are visiting. When in doubt, it’s better to dress up than to dress down.
- Create an online profile. Whether it’s a portfolio showcasing your work or a LinkedIn page, an online presence is necessary in today’s professional world. Give contacts a way to view your experiences at their convenience.
- Be reachable. Your business card, resume and online profile should provide consistent and reliable ways to contact you. Encourage others to call or email you, and respond within a day.
- Contact others. Save your contacts the effort and time by reaching out to them. Contact them first to show you are dedicated and eager to pursue the relationship.
If you’d like an opportunity to continue to focus your professional skills, a degree program could put you on the right track. The university you choose should offer career search assistance, resume tips and more through its Career Services Department.