None. That’s right…NONE!
No, I don’t mean not wearing any clothes (save that for the French Riviera or a deserted beach somewhere). I mean that it’s not your clothes that make you a “professional”.
There are people that wear suits that fit them 30 lbs ago and there are people that know what a tailor is. There are people that think “dry clean only” means the gentle wash cycle and low heat and then there are people who know their local dry cleaner owner by name. For the sake of this post, I’m going to assume that you’re the latter in each example above.
Assuming that you dress the part, which depends on your location and local customs, your clothes will give a first impression when meeting in person. But that first impression is only part 2, 3 or even part 10 of your actual “first” impression (so is it actually a 2nd impression?).
These days, many consumers are getting their first impression of you on-line, well before they ever meet you IRL.
- If your blog was their first impression of you, how professional of an image did your blog convey?
- What about your Twitter profile and updates?
- What about your Facebook profile?
- Have you updated your LinkedIn profile lately?
- What about your Google Reader shared posts – what image are they conveying?
- What are your friends and clients publicly saying about you on-line?
To be considered a “professional”, you need to convey your professionalism and act like one on-line as well as IRL. Without doing that on-line, you’ll never get a meeting IRL.
Take a look at your on-line presence…
- Does it convey professionalism?
- Do you come across as credible and knowledgeable?
- Would you consider hiring you as a Realtor if you came across your on-line profiles?
If you can’t say “yes” to these questions with certainty, save a shopping trip and money on a suit and take another look at your on-line presence.
And the beauty of it is, the more professional your on-line presence is, the more casual you’ll be able to dress when you do meet/work with your clients IRL You may soon find your clients asking you to “dress down” or “dress more comfortably” because they’ve dressed down themselves and are comfortable enough with you to see you in jeans or even a t-shirt and shorts.