February 20, 2012

Professional Development

Work Your Way to the Top: Present Yourself Well

By: Tom G. Palmer

When working your way to the top, look the part and maintain a professional comportment. If you want to be a leader, don’t look like a slob. Of course, that doesn’t mean fancy business clothes at all times, but it does mean thinking about how you will be perceived in various circumstances. I won’t go into detail on what color of tie to wear or whether to wear big jewelry, but I do think that attention to appearances counts. When I mention “look the part,” I’m not referring only to how you clothe yourself, but to how you present yourself generally. If you write a letter of introduction or an application for a job and it’s full of typographical errors, spelling mistakes, or bad grammar, you will make a bad impression. Remember that people judge you by how they perceive you.

Palmer is vice president for international programs at the Atlas Network and senior fellow at the Cato Institute. This advice is an excerpt of the IHS “Creating Your Path to a Public Policy Career” guide, which you can read here.