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Professional Image

People constantly observe the behavior of others and quickly form theories about their competence, character, and commitment.

Manage your own positive image with the tips below, before others do it for you!

Remember, the rules of etiquette will vary by region, country, and culture.

suit Dress to impress for interviews


 Greetings and Introductions

  • When meeting someone for the first time, be sure to make eye contact and smile. Stand up if you are seated and extend your hand to give a firm handshake. 
  • When shaking hands during an introduction, repeat the person's name in your greeting (i.e. "Pleased to meet you, Ms. Smith").  Do not use the person's first name unless given permission.
  • In a business situation, when introducing a junior executive to a senior executive, say the senior executive's name first.
  • Watch out for unnecessary gestures such as pointing, fiddling with hair or jewelry, pen clicking, etc.
  • Attending a meeting or networking event without a business card gives the impression that you are not prepared. Keep business cards in a business-card holder and stock up before you attend.


  • Wear your nametag in the area below your right shoulder.  If the name tag hangs around your neck, shorten the length so the tag hangs near eye level.
  • Make sure your name is clearly printed and easy to read.

Cell Phone Use

  • If possible, avoid using a cell phone for phone interviews so that you do not put your interview at risk by a potentially poor connection or low cell phone battery.  Don't blame others for dropped calls.
  • Provide a professional voice mail message.  Be sure to include your name and a professional message rather than just a phone number.
  • When in doubt, mute.  Put your phone on vibrate so as not to miss an important call, but do not take a personal call during an interview or business meeting.
  • Choose ringtones you won't regret.  Select more sedate ringtones that are appropriate to the business environment.
  • Excuse yourself before taking the call.  Don't talk on your cell phone, play games, or send text messages in front of someone who expects your attention.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.  When in earshot, lower your voice and keep it short.  Do not conduct nonessential calls in public transportation, restaurants, checkout lines, elevators, bathrooms, and other close quarters.
  • If it's an emergency, take the call. To manage calls at inopportune times, establish a communications plan with loved ones. Ask when you answer, "Hi, is this an emergency?", if it is not, people will understand.
  • Do not send text messages to anyone you wish to impress.  This form of communication is too casual. 
  • Avoid placing someone on speaker until you get their permission.
  • Avoid composing a text message while you're in face-to-face conversation. This is comparable to taking a voice call and may be considered rude by others.
  • Always maintain a professional demeanor and avoid use of your cell phone for texting, gaming, etc. during job search activities (i.e. while waiting to meet with someone for a job interview).
Got a minute? View video tips for dress, etiquette, interviews and building your personal brand!