Establish Your Professional Perception

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This post will be revealing, so if you don’t want to see behind the curtain…stop here.

OK, you’re still here. I want to share some of the specifics that I’ve done to create a professional perception for myself. As a former engineer, it was critical that I helped people to see me as a qualified “careers” expert. Since this is my livelihood, it was important that I did it quickly, but since there are no magic potions I had to embrace the fact that it would take some time. So…


When I saw myself sort of floundering and hitting various plateaus, I invested in coaches. I sought out a business coach who would help me see myself as a qualified expert. Then I attracted a wardrobe consultant to help me look the part. As much as we’d like to think that our appearance doesn’t matter…it does. And I needed a trained eye to help me find my best style. The look that made me feel like a boss. Thank you, @Malissa Davis.


Since I was young, I’ve prided myself on not loving to read. I would say “if it’s good enough they’ll make it into a movie.” But they don’t generally make movies out of John Maxwell’s How Leaders Think or Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. So after watching other successful entrepreneurs talk about the latest books they’d read, I knew I had to get busy. So I pushed through my lack of desire to read and began to make this a habit. How can you be a well-rounded expert if you’re only quoting yourself and your own limited experiences? Choose books relevant to you, leadership, and your industry.


I wanted people to believe that I knew what I was talking about, but they hadn’t witnessed it for themselves, so they were unlikely to pay me just because I thought they should. I had to be willing to do it for free to demonstrate I had the skills I knew were worthy of a check. This is true in the workplace too…we think we’re ready for promotion but no one else knows it…be willing to do it for free (for a time) to show them what you’ve got. Stay visible. Stay relevant.


Not asking for the sale, but again proving to my audience (which started very small and is growing slowly but surely) that I knew what I was talking about. Find your platform whether it be LinkedIn, Facebook, or a company newsletter and share your knowledge without worrying about giving too much away. Once you realize it would literally take years for a novice to know what you know…you won’t be concerned with giving away the farm.


Establishing a brand is a long-haul investment. So I kept using the same words (careers, resumes, interviews, networking, job search, etc…) so that people were not confused about who I was and what my specialties were. The key here is to make sure you know what you want to be known for; then don’t deviate from that specialty so people have time to know you for that brand.

These are the action steps I took and they helped me. I pray that these approaches ignite something in you to get busy creating the perception that you want for yourself. As Carla Harris says in her book, Expect to Win, “perception is the co-pilot of reality”. What other methods can you share that will help others create their desired perceptions in the workplace, in business, and in life? We can’t wait to hear your suggestions.

Written by Brenda M. Cunningham: The one who will tell you like it is and help you get to where you want to be in your career. Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation.