Building a Professional Image

ImageIf you want to be seen and respected as a professional, might I say you need to act like a professional first.  In this episode I  talk about  what I believe are the ten most important areas you should guard and improve if you want to build a professional image.   These are not in any particular order and the list is in no way all inclusive. Rather, these ten areas are what I feel are the most important.

10 tips for building a professional image

Keep your personal life personal

Keep your opinions to yourself or within your tightest-closets friends. Do not use social media to voice your political or hot topic opinions.  You are a public figure and although you may have an opinion, the public does not need to hear it.

Create the right associates

It’s important to associate yourself with people, pursuits, and organizations that help to further the professional image you want to project. Join  associations or forums related to your field.  You are the product of the five people you spend the most time with.

Be Positive – Be Respectful

Do you constantly find the faults in any argument, the flaws to any process, or the reasons why someone’s plans are bound to fail? While it’s great to be able to see problems before they arise, being relentlessly negative doesn’t make you liked or  respected as a professional.  If you want to be treated with respect – you have to show it and earn it. Take a positive attitude towards your work, and you’ll find that your professional image benefits.

Know your job

Know your job as per state statues and what your agency policies are.  Knowing your job will help you work within your job requirements and not overstepping your bounds.

Admit your shortcomings

It’s okay not to know everything.  Admit where you need more training and make it your responsibility  to get that training.

Keep your promises

If you promise to do something, do it. Unless there’s a major catastrophe, a commitment is a commitment.  If a reason comes up that you cannot full fill your promise then be sure you let the person know you’ve promised why you will be delayed.

Do a good job – always

If you do an excellent work then others will notice you even if you are not promoting it. Build a reputation by doing an amazing work. Your work and your reports have to stand the test of time and the scrutiny  of lawyers and other investigators.

Personal appearance

Personal appearance is one of those subtle things that’s difficult to quantify. Mostly, it’s a collection of a lot of small investments of time and effort that add up to a slight but noticeable tweak in how people think of you. The difference is real, and over time these small differences in a lot of interactions and events can really add up.

Avoid substance abuse

Alcohol and prescription drugs are often times abused by police and death investigators as a way to drown their sorrows and help to hide feelings and stress.

Gaurd your mental health

As death investigators we see the worst life has to offer. We must watch out mental health and understand the warning signs of ptsd and how our job changes us.

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About the Author
Darren is a 30 year veteran of law enforcement and criminal investigations. He currently serves as an investigator for the Crawford County Missouri coroner’s office. He holds credentials as an instructor for the Missouri Sheriff’s Training Academy, has served as president of the Missouri Medical Examiners and Coroners Association, and is certified and credentialed in numerous fields of investigation. He holds the position of lead instructor and facilitator for the Coroner Talk™ community as he speaks and writes in the area of death investigation and scene management.

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