Projecting Professionalism: Look Like a Boss and Act Like One Too 

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Projecting Professionalism: Look Like a Boss and Act Like One Too
Professionalism is key to a successful career, but military professionalism and corporate professionalism often demand different priorities. Where once a proper salute and a confident tone would convey respect and competence in the military, as a transitioned civilian, individuals may need to focus more closely on the appearance of a digital profile in order to land that first meeting or interview.


Professionalism is a hallmark of service members who are respected and take their jobs seriously. Channeling this strength of character into all aspects of your civilian identity and strategically focusing the same drive that resulted in your military achievements, will serve you long into the future as you develop your professional identity.


With a polished resume ready to be circulated, focus on these additional elements in order to confidently launch into successful networking and interviewing.


Polish Your Professional Image:

Projecting a professional image is about much more than the way you dress. Despite this however, your your physical appearance, as well as your online presence, still conveys powerful information about who you are as an individual. You want your outward presentation to convey an accurate representation of your abilities, rather than distract from your skills and experience.

Appropriate Email Address: It’s time to ditch any cutesy, edgy, or artistic email handle if you’re still using one. Do you really want “GYMboss4ever” or “CoffeeAddict” gracing the top of your resume for contacts and prospective employers to see? The best handle is a straightforward one, such as your first and last name, or a combination of those names with dashes, periods or numbers. Keep it simple and relevant. This is merely a means for other to contact you and not a commentary on your likes or hobbies.

Professional Headshots: As you network and interview, having a professional photo on your digital accounts will serve you well in projecting a polished image. You can invest in having professional headshots taken, or you can enlist the assistance of a family member or friend to take a flattering photo of you in business attire with a neutral background. You don’t need to spend money to get a good photo, just be sure to dress appropriately and take your photo where there is flattering lighting. If you’ve transitioned from the military, avoid using formal military photos of you in uniform, as you want future employers to readily envision you as a civilian professional.

Business Cards: Be prepared to be unforgettable! Even if you are not yet employed, can and should still carry a calling card. Your cards can be as creative or as classic as you want, but be sure to include information such as your name, phone number, email address, and links for digital platforms such as your LinkedIn Profile, or a portfolio website. Calling cards are a great place to use your headshot photo if you choose, and having your picture on your card can help make for easy recall for the individuals with whom you network.


Amplify Your Digital Tools:

You’ve laid the groundwork for making a polished in-person first impression, now your online presence needs to communicate the same level of professionalism.

Keep Social Media Clean: Social media is a window into your personal life and worldviews. Consider what your social media posts convey to employers about your priorities, beliefs, and activities. Be mindful that despite the most strict privacy settings, your online activity, “likes,” and comments may still be viewable to the public depending on the privacy settings of the original post. Photos from wild nights partying, or tailgating pictures that include you in a keg stand, are better left off social media and shared privately with the specific people you intend them for.

Super Charge Your LinkedIn: Your LinkedIn profile is a digital resume for networking with other professionals, connecting with recruiters, and showcasing your skills to prospective employers. Are you maximizing your LinkedIn profile to showcase your greatest selling points? Use a professional photo for your profile image, or if you had those headshots photos taken, this is the perfect platform to showcase one of them. Take time to craft a thoughtful and engaging headline and add media to your profile that features projects, presentations, or significant pieces of your professional work. The more quality content you have on your profile, the longer visitors will browse your page and gain a better understanding of your abilities and employability.



Your military service has prepared you for the professional expectations of the civilian workforce. Now it’s time to capitalize by properly showcasing and communicating your professionalism in the channels where your audience is most active.



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