How To Appear More Professional At Work

If you're like me, then I'm sure you have days when you're just not feelin' it at work. Maybe you're tired, or lacking confidence, or totally overwhelmed. And it can really start to take it's toll. Luckily, there are ways to appear more professional and confident at work, regardless of how you feel on the inside.

Because let's be honest, you aren't going to show up to work every day as your most polished, sophisticated self. You may be wrinkled and messy. You may let a few things slip through the cracks. You might even get nervous and totally flub an important presentation. If that happens, don't worry. You're only human. Humans get nervous, humans get tired, and humans occasionally show up to work with a giant coffee stain on their shirt. It's not the end of the world.

You will, however, want to reign all that in, and present your best self as often as possible. Because, like it or not, your boss and co-workers are probably going to take note of how you handle yourself at work. That includes how you dress, how you act in meetings, how quickly and professionally you answer emails — all of it. I know, it kind of sounds judge-y and overly critical. But that's the way the working world works.

So put your best foot forward, feel confidence, and move up that corporate ladder, with a few of these tips for feeling, and looking, more professional at work.

1. Be All About That Work Outfit

Most jobs have a dress code, which you should obviously adhere to. However, I recommend taking it one step further, and really throwing together an amazing work outfit. Not only is it fun to dress up, but there's something about the perfect outfit that can really make you feel so good. And when you feel good, you exude confidence.

2. Wear A Signature Item

Standing out, style-wise, can keep you memorable in your boss's mind. It also screams confidence, if you are that guy or girl with the recognizable style. As Dorie Clark said on Forbes, "Don’t worry if it doesn’t come naturally to you ... go for it. The days of conformity are over; what people are likely to remember about you is how you’re different and unique."

3. Keep Your Desk Looking Top Notch

There's something very mad science-y about a messy desk, so if that's your gig, then have at it. But for fancy offices, or minimalist start-up environments, it may do some good to have a clean, organized desk. It'll look like you have your sh*t together, even if you don't. Plus, it'll make working and staying on top of projects that much easier.

4. Adopt A Professional Phone Voice

Talking in a professional phone voice can be tough to get used to, especially if you're working for the first time. It does do wonders, however, for how professional you sound. As Ben Brumm said on, "Your greeting is the first thing that people hear when they call you, and you want to send a good impression to them. Try adding your name in there as well as a greeting." It'll sound so very grown-up, and will score major points with whoever's on the other end of the phone.

5. Be Cool With Taking Risks

The next time your boss approaches you with a new project, you may secretly want to die inside. How will you handle it? Will you mess it up? Your mind reels. But don't let these thoughts run away with you. Instead, agree to give it a go, and then do your best. This is the idea of "risk taking," according to Bill Murphy Jr. on, and it can really help you make a good impression.

6. Go Beyond What's Expected

If you want to make a good impression, even if your confidence is quickly waning, the best thing to do is going above and beyond what's expected. "With each new assignment, think of ways you can knock the ball out of the park," suggested Ruth Zive on "You’ll feel better about yourself if you go the extra mile — and you’ll probably get some good feedback from others, too."

7. Set Up An Email Signature

If there's anything more professional than an email signature, please let me know. It not only lets contacts know that they're communicating with your on a professional level, but it also gives them the info they need to reach out again in the future. In other words, it quickly takes your email from the "one I use to send memes to my friends," to "the email I use to for my fancy job."

8. Ask For Some Constructive Feedback

This one might sound scary. I mean, who wants to be critiqued? But trust me when I say that asking for some feedback is just about the most professional thing you can do. "Doing so demonstrates that you care about your work and want to succeed in your job," Zive said. "Plus, instead of anxiously wondering what you’re doing wrong, you’ll gain a better sense of your performance, your strengths, and your areas for improvement."

9. Don't Play On Your Phone

There isn't a person on the planet who doesn't occasionally browse the internet while at work, or sneak a few texts under their desk. Heck, some companies don't even care if you do so, as long as your work gets done. But other places of employment seriously frown on any personal phone use. Stick to what's expected of you at work.

10. Have Some Good Posture

It may be comfy, but no one looks like the picture of professionalism when they slouch. As Katya Andresen said on Entrepreneur, "... studies show body language can affect who we hire, how we judge people, how we decide how to interact with someone, and how we perceive ourselves." So sit up straight at your desk, and stride around the office with confidence.

11. Accept Praise For A Job Well Done

If you've been feeling shy at work, then accepting praise may feel absolutely mortifying. Don't downplay your achievements. "Acknowledging those successes and rewarding yourself will remind you how great you really are — and there’s no greater confidence boost than a job well done."

Keep these tips in mind, and I'm sure you'll come across as the most confident person at work, whether you feel that way or not. Hopefully, it'll start to rub off, and you'll

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