Thursday, April 9, 2009

What is your "professional" life quote?

I think in one form or another, we all have some sort of life saying or life quote that we live by. I want to know, what is your professional life quote? Well, for what it is worth, here is mine:

"Presentation is the essential key to succeeding in life."

While it’s simple, it's also deep. I came up with this quote almost 8 years ago when I first began my career in Human Resources and then went into Higher Education. I was in my early 20's back then when I came up with that quote and quickly realized that the world initially judges you by your appearance. And when I say appearance, I don’t mean just your outwardly physical appearance. Your appearance can incorporate several other things in which people initially judge you or learn about your character. This can be through your résumé, your online portfolio, even your MySpace or Facebook account represent your "appearance" to the public eye! While some of us hate to think that this is true, unfortunately in this day and age it is the reality.

Let me give you a quick analogy. Let's say you go to a restaurant and on the menu you see this food choice: "Filet mignon perfectly cooked to your liking, gently wrapped in bacon and lightly sprinkled with blue cheese crumbles; accompanied with savory Portobello mushroom risotto along with a delectable mix of wild vegetables in a light lemon sauce." Now let's say you see this next description on the same menu: "Steak cooked as requested, with some bacon and blue cheese on top with a side of some fancy rice and veggies." Okay, assuming the price is exactly the same, which one "sounds" more appealing? Which one in turn do you think will appear to look and taste better? If you are following where I am going with this point, hopefully you would say the first dinner choice is the better of the two. But, let's say to be fair you decide to order both, just to compare the difference between how the two are presented. The first comes out hot and is adorned on beautiful fine china with the food perfectly plated….like a piece of art! You stare at this presentation of food and immediately appreciate the time and efforts the Chef took in order make the food look scrumptious. Now the second plate of food that you order comes out. This plate was presented to you and immediately you notice a chip in the cheap "faux china." The food must have been served to you late, because it’s no longer hot. The food looks like someone just through it on there without any effort of proper presentation. Looking at the two dishes in front of you, essentially the same food just presented differently, I can tell you that I know which one you would naturally decide to be your dinner selection.

Now, let’s put this analogy to the professional working world. Your résumé is that first marketing piece, that first selling point to employers. Your résumé is your opportunity to "present" your skills and your attention to detail. If you have a well thought out, organized and structured résumé, I am sure from the beginning your résumé will stand out to potential employers. On the flip side, if an employer is faced with two different résumés in front of them and one looks better than the other, chances are that employer will naturally be pulled to look at the "better of the two résumés". All because of the mere presentation and layout. Of course this is not always the case, but why risk your chance of not being interviewed? If you have a strong looking résumé from the get go, then you are instantly bettering your chances to get that interview.

Moving on to the interview process scenario (yes, I do have a point of this blog). So now, an employer is faced with interviewing what appears on paper to be two very qualified and organized candidates. Both candidates come to the interview. One arrives 15 minutes early and comes dressed in a full suit and tie, nice dress shoes and is holding a leather bound portfolio. The other interviewee arrives on time, but is dressed casually in a polo shirt and khaki’s. While he doesn’t appear to look bad and he is well groomed, in comparison to the first interviewee this guy appears as though he is not being professional. Through the employer's eyes, the employer immediately and sub-consciously formed a judgment on these two individuals based upon how they came dressed to the interview. Based on the above scenario, who do you think the employer would hire based on just the initial presentation alone? Right, I would feel the same way, too.

My point about this blog is that no matter what you do or what you wear or even what you say...people are already forming a judgment about you. It stinks, I know, but in the professional world of looking for a job it’s your job to remain professional in everything you do! It's just how it is...

Okay, so what are some of your professional life quotes? What does it say about you and your character? Does it help BRAND you? Let's hear them.

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