Professional Image

People constantly observe the behavior of others and quickly form opinions about their competence, character, and commitment.  Manage your own positive image with the tips below and know that etiquette protocols will vary by region, country, and culture.

Dress to impress for interviews

Greetings and Introductions

  • When meeting someone for the first time, be sure to make eye contact and smile. Stand up if you are seated and extend your hand to give a firm handshake. 
  • When shaking hands during an introduction, repeat the person's name in your greeting (i.e. "Pleased to meet you, Ms. Smith").  Do not use the person's first name unless given permission.
  • In a business situation, when introducing a junior executive to a senior executive, say the senior executive's name first.
  • Watch out for unnecessary gestures such as pointing, fiddling with hair or jewelry, pen clicking, etc.
  • Attending a meeting or networking event without a business card gives the impression that you are not prepared. Keep business cards in a business-card holder and stock up before you attend.


  • Wear your nametag in the area below your right shoulder.  If the name tag hangs around your neck, shorten the length so the tag hangs near eye level.
  • Make sure your name is clearly printed and easy to read.

Cell Phone Use

  • Do not put a phone interview at risk and make sure your cell phone is well charged.
  • Provide a professional voice mail message which includes your name as well as phone number.
  • When in doubt, mute.  Put your phone on vibrate so as not to miss an important call, but do not take a personal call during an interview or business meeting.
  • Choose ringtones you won't regret that are appropriate to the business environment.
  • Excuse yourself before taking a call.  Don't talk on your cell phone, play games, or send text messages in front of someone who expects your attention.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.  When in earshot, lower your voice and keep it short.  Avoid conducting nonessential calls in restaurants, elevators, bathrooms, and other close quarters.
  • If it's an emergency, take the call. To manage calls at inopportune times, establish a communications plan with loved ones. Ask when you answer, "Hi, is this an emergency?", if it is not, people will understand.
  • Do not send text messages to anyone you wish to impress.  This form of communication is too casual. 
  • Avoid placing someone on speaker until you get their permission.
  • Avoid composing a text message while you're in face-to-face conversation. This is comparable to taking a voice call and may be considered rude by others.
  • Do not use your cell phone for texting, gaming, etc. during employment search activities such as waiting to meet with someone for an interview.