How You Can Spot a Professional

People will sometimes say you can spot a writer. The man with the long hair, somewhat disheveled, but relatively respectable, is a writer (think Bradley Cooper in Limitless). That female with the end of a pen between vibrant red lips is a writer.

Like all stereotypes, these descriptions have some merit. But they are not blanket identifiers. Just like all heroes don’t have muscular builds and blue eyes, or all evildoers don’t have brooding expressions and thin faces. I’m a writer and I tend towards more of a business casual than anything else.

But there is one stereotype that will makes a load of difference in your life. That stereotype is The Professional.

I’m sure you’ve seen the men and women I’m talking about. The man in suit and tie, carrying a briefcase and looking at his watch like he’s late. The woman in fashionable heels and a power suit – feminine and strong. These are people that make you stop and wonder what they do for a living. They are people that you might pay attention to when they speak. When operating in a business setting it is of utmost importance to represent yourself in a way that other people will respect you. Not every job is going to require suit and tie, but every job will require your commitment.

Today I went to speak with someone about my cover letter. This is a service almost every professor of mine has recommended, so I thought getting some extra help with securing a job would be a good idea. From the moment I walked in I stopped listening. The receptionist had her headphones in and didn’t notice when I walked up. The woman reviewing my occupational materials was wearing sweatpants, sweatshirt, and Uggs. These are not people whose advice I’d consider worthwhile.

I did force myself to listen, and the lady whose advice I was receiving was, in fact, helpful. But when I left her office I felt cheated in some way. This was supposed to be a professional meeting, yet it felt like I’d walked into a college campus lounge. I craved that professionalism.

And that is a key I’d suggest to anyone wishing to impress. Dress for the occasion. Even overdressing is often better than underdressing because we, as humans, crave that look of professionalism. We want to feel like our time has not been wasted. We want to speak with someone more knowledgeable than us because we are looking to learn something. Looking the part is half the battle of making someone think you are qualified. And when somebody pauses to think about what skills you possess that he or she may or may not…

Well that’s not such a bad thing, is it?

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