There are so many daily duties and big projects associated with doing your job and doing it well that it can be very easy for the small details to get lost in the shuffle. True, it is more important to worry about getting your product pitch presentation completed than perfecting your voicemail, but those little details are actually important parts of the big professional picture you are trying to paint. No matter how small they are, they all add up to the image you are trying to create, that of a competent and responsible business professional.
Here are some examples of the small stuff worth sweating!
Having an informative but not overly obnoxious email signature is as valuable as keeping your business card on you at all times. With the prevalence of email over most other forms of communication, it is important that you have a professional signature that gives all of your pertinent contact information so recipients can reach out to you in a different method should they so choose. It is also a great place to include a link to your website, blog, etc., so that you can drive more traffic to your sites with additional information. Be careful though that your signatures are not TOO elaborate or complex, with lavish fonts, pictures, quotes, icons and the like cluttering it. Keep it simple with your basic contact information in a clean font, a link or two, and perhaps a logo; this will keep it professional yet informative.
Of equal importance is having a professional outgoing message on your voicemail. Most of us don’t overlook this step on our land line at work, but it is of extreme importance to have a professional message on your cell phone as well. Having an unprofessional outgoing message can deter the caller from leaving a message or trying to contact you again, which can cost job seekers a position, or cost employees a client.
This is especially important if you are in sales. Having a clean car that others feel comfortable riding in is crucial when your job depends on meetings and client contacts. You don’t want to miss out on a sale because the client was apprehensive about pushing past the fast food bags to climb into your car. Even if you are not in sales, you never know when a coworker or even your boss may need a ride somewhere! Keeping your car clean and odor free (ie. not smoking in it, cleaning it after you took Fido to the vet, etc.) can do wonders for your professional image.
As with a clean car, a desk is personal property that is associated with your professional image. This is less applicable with outside clients, but is very important when trying to maintain a professional persona around your bosses and coworkers. A tidy desk shows attention to detail and pride in maintaining your professional environment, so make sure all those wrappers or Starbucks cups find their way to the trash!
This one is another given: we all know that dressing in a professional manner will help others to take you more seriously. Even if your position doesn’t require business attire, it is important to make sure your clothing is free from stains or tatters, your hair, makeup, nails, etc. are clean and tastefully done, and all basic hygiene is taken care of.
We know you may have a lot of big ticket items already on your plate, but focusing on some of the smaller details will round out your professional image and poise you for success!