5 At-Home Tips to Update Your Professional Image

These days, many of us are doing some sprucing up and taking care – our lawns, homes, loved ones, and bodies are all beneficiaries.  Also, a lot of us are regularly going to work in sweats and pjs (at least on the bottom).  While we’re at home, we should spruce up our professional lives too.  No matter what field you’re in, people want to know who you are, what you do, and what’s interesting about you.  

Whether you’re a student, professional, or entrepreneur, here are 5 things you can do from the comfort of your home to update your professional image and increase your chances of being remembered in the post-covid world.  You may already be doing some of this.  So take the best and leave the rest.

1. Add a background image to your LinkedIn profile.

If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, get one.  Many people have a great professional photo on LinkedIn, but they neglect the rectangular background area behind it.  This presents an opportunity for you to help your profile stand out from the crowd.  Utilize this real estate to showcase a career highlight or something about yourself that may not come through in the rest of the profile.  When in doubt, a pleasant photo from the community where you work at least shows that you paid attention to the background area. 

2. Give your resume a tune up and include relevant pro-bono and volunteer work.

Sometimes your paid work doesn’t showcase all of your skills or all the personal qualities that a future employer or client will find valuable.  At a minimum, add volunteer and pro-bono professional experiences to your resume and LinkedIn profile that others may find beneficial in the future.

3. Buy a website domain with your name.

Why?  It’s simple – someone else might.  It could be someone with the same name.  If you’re increasing in visibility, it could be someone who recognizes the potential monetary value of that domain.  If and when you become more high profile as a business owner, public official, or influencer, you want to have control over at least the “.com” version of your name if possible.  Although there are a number of “._” that you can have, “.com” is still the most popular. 

Even if you don’t intend to take the spotlight someday, there’s nothing wrong with having a space of your own that isn’t tied to a social network.  Physical representations of your work – product samples and portfolios – are always something to have on-hand.  However, don’t forget about how much your reach expands when you and your work are visible online.  A well-designed personal website might be the key to your next career move.

Don’t feel any pressure.  You can buy a domain and not point it to an actual website.

4. Hang some wall art that represents you in your normal video chat space.

Zoom video calls are all the rage right? And people love seeing what other people’s offices or homes look like.  Blank walls, bookcases and degree displays for backgrounds aren’t going to tell anyone much about who you are.  If you’re looking to enhance an online conversation or leave your fellow attendees wanting to know more about you, an interesting (but not distracting) photo, quote, or artwork can do just that.  This can work very well in small groups.

5. Develop a follow-up plan for all those business cards and emails you collect.

Many people don’t follow up with the people they meet at conferences or networking events, be it virtual or in person.  Don’t spend ages making major plans; just create an easy, repeatable flow.  For example, after a meetup, store the business cards you collect and schedule a reminder to email those people in a few days; consider connecting with them or their company on social media as appropriate. 

Artwork from Hobby Lobby Home Décor

Are these ALL the things you could be doing to improve right now?  Not. even. close.  Having said that, they build upon each other and will get you headed in the right direction this fall.