Present a Professional Appearance

In an increasingly diverse workforce, your desired professional image may or may not match your perceived professional image. Members of negatively stereotyped identity groups may experience a state of incongruence facing some obstacles when trying to create a positive professional image.

Your personal appearance and professional workspace are important. Of course, you will also be evaluated on how you show respect to others.

Maintain a Professional Personal Appearance

Following the dress code conveys a professional image. You should always be mindful of your company’s dress code policies. Different societies and cultures will have different norms in regard to clothing and personal appearance. If you are unsure about these protocols, check with your company’s employee handbook for any restrictions, as well as consult with your HR department to discuss cross-cultural differences. It is appropriate for you to contact a colleague or a manager for specific information. Your company’s dress code is defined because they have established a certain image that they want to send to clients, other companies, etc., so it’s important that you understand and follow their dress code!


Keep Your Workspace Organized and Tidy

Your workspace should be organized and clean. You can be creative – your space is an expression of who you are – but be sure you know the policies for decorating your workspace. For example, be sure you know whether or not you can hang pictures or photos, and how you may do this.

It’s critical that you become organized and minimize your clutter.



Consider practicing the “one touch rule.” This rule states: “When you touch something, you either act on it, file it for later, or throw it away.”


Respect Others in Your Work Environment

Everyone is responsible for maintaining a clean work environment. You may even be sharing an office or cubical with another employee. So, just as you did with a college roommate, you’ll need to continue to be respectful of others in your work environment, and follow these quick rules of office integrity:




  • Leave it like you found it
  • Replace what you use.
  • Don’t hoard office supplies.
  • If you break it… fix it or report it!
  • Disinfect and clean your workspace regularly


Next, let’s review some information on how you can create a professional communication style.