Your Profession

Understanding Your Profession to Create Your Personal Image/Personal Brand

Each profession has its own set of learned skills (writing, math, speaking a foreign language, driving a truck, flying a plane, sewing, computer skills, etc.), as well as attributes that tend to be inherent to one’s personality, for example: being outgoing, creative, analytical, thinking inside or outside of the box).  Whether you’re aware of it or not, dress codes are always required in the working world.  You may not be required to wear a uniform; however, every profession has a certain apparel standard: business formal, business casual, and/or casual/casual.

These skills, personality traits and dress codes are all part of what’s expected of one’s personal image and personal brand. Show a lack of skills, misaligned personality traits, or dress outside of the expected norm, and see how quickly your position flat-lines.

Understanding your profession is a five step process:

  1. Identify the skill sets needed within your profession (i.e., writing, math, computer skills, etc.)
  2. Define the personality traits that would be most effective in your particular profession (i.e., extrovert/introvert, creative, analytical, approachable, authoritative, etc.)
  3. What standards of dress are expected within your profession (i.e., uniform, business formal, business casual, casual/casual, etc.)
  4. Identify how your particular set of skills, personality traits and dress preferences align with your profession.
  5. Identify the parts of you that don’t match your profession and ask yourself, “Is this a deal breaker?”

Identifying your profession’s skills, preferred personality traits and dress code requires a little examination.

  • First, write down what you already know about your profession — all the things that drew you to it in the first place.
  • Next, look at the people you work with.  What are their skills, personality traits and preferred dress code?  Look not only at your department, but at similar individuals in other industries and companies.  It’s important to understand the standards in different industries and companies because in these modern times, most people transfer jobs every three to five years.  You want your personal image and personal brand to be transferable.
  • Look at the people who are very successful, the ones you’d like to model yourself after.  What are their skills, personality traits and dress?
  • Combine and analyze the information you’ve gathered.  What conclusions can you draw?  This is not a one-time process.  Update and review this information periodically to make sure it’s up-to-date.
  • This analysis might garner different results in different parts of the country, and the world.  If you travel a lot, it’s important evaluate your profession in relation to the places you visit. For example, the east coast of the United States tends to be more formal than the US west coast. Similarly, if you’re a western female traveling to and working in the middle-east, it’s imperative that you understand the difference in cultural as well as professional standards.

The next step is to evaluate your particular set of skills, personality traits and dress preferences. How do your attributes and preferences align with the ones identified for your profession in general?  Are you spot-on, or are there discrepancies?  Evaluate how these differences can be made into strengths for you.

Now, let’s put this information aside for a bit.  We’ll revisit these results once we’re done evaluating your industry, company and clientele.