If you want to be seen and respected as a professional, might I say you need to act like a professional first. In this post, I talk about what I believe are the ten most important areas you should guard and improve if you want to build a professional image. These are not in any particular order and the list is in no way all-inclusive. Rather, these ten areas are what I feel are the most important.
10 tips for building a professional image
1.Keep your personal life personal
Keep your opinions to yourself or within your tightest-closets friends. Do not use social media to voice your political or hot topic opinions. You are a public figure and although you may have an opinion, the public does not need to hear it.
2. Create the right associates
It’s important to associate yourself with people, pursuits, and organizations that help to further the professional image you want to project. Join associations or forums related to your field. You are the product of the five people you spend the most time with.
3. Be Positive – Be Respectful
Do you constantly find the faults in any argument, the flaws to any process, or the reasons why someone’s plans are bound to fail? While it’s great to be able to see problems before they arise, being relentlessly negative doesn’t make you liked or respected as a professional. If you want to be treated with respect – you have to show it and earn it. Take a positive attitude towards your work, and you’ll find that your professional image benefits.
4. Know your job
Know your job as per state statues and what your agency policies are. Knowing your job will help you work within your job requirements and not overstepping your bounds.
5. Admit your shortcomings
It's okay not to know everything. Admit where you need more training and make it your responsibility to get that training.
6. Keep your promises
If you promise to do something, do it. Unless there’s a major catastrophe, a commitment is a commitment. If a reason comes up that you cannot full fill your promise then be sure you let the person know you've promised why you will be delayed.
7. Do a good job – always
If you do an excellent work then others will notice you even if you are not promoting it. Build a reputation by doing an amazing work. Your work and your reports have to stand the test of time and the scrutiny of lawyers and other investigators.
8. Personal appearance
Personal appearance is one of those subtle things that’s difficult to quantify. Mostly, it’s a collection of a lot of small investments of time and effort that add up to a slight but noticeable tweak in how people think of you. The difference is real, and over time these small differences in a lot of interactions and events can really add up.
9. Avoid substance abuse
Alcohol and prescription drugs are often times abused by police and death investigators as a way to drown their sorrows and help to hide feelings and stress.
10. Guard your mental health
As death investigators, we see the worst life has to offer. We must watch out mental health and understand the warning signs of PTSD and how our job changes us.