The Professional You: 5 Tips

I received a newsletter today about some things that you should not do when applying for a J.O.B. and while reading it I started thinking about how some of the tips listed also apply to those seeking (and running) a Work At Home business opportunity. People need to keep in mind that working for yourself or from home does not mean that you can (or should) be any less professional than those working in the “corporate world”. If you’re thinking “blah blah blah, whatever, I can do what I want if I work for myself!”, think again because you’re doing yourself a disservice. Here is a short list of no-no’s that I think are important for maintaining your professionalism online.

  1. The Resume. While most “work at home” opportunities do not require an “official” resume, it is always good to have something on hand, just in case. Usually, a work at home opportunity involves being “signed up” as an Independent Distributor, Consultant, Sales Rep, etc… which means you’ll most likely be talking to someone who is already signed up and is trying to build a team to work with. While many people just want to get sign ups and don’t care who they refer, there are at least that many who do care. They might not ask you for a resume, but these individuals want to know who they are going to be working with. These individuals do not want to waste their time on someone who isn’t 100% serious about building their business. Get some type of a resume created, and whether you do it yourself or have someone do it for you, make sure it is professional and relevant to the business you are trying to work with. At the very list get some kind of  an “About Me” bio page set up somewhere where you’re potential new co-workers can learn a little more about who you are. You probably won’t need the resume itself, but better safe than sorry, right?
  2. Punctuation, Capitalization, Spelling & Grammar. They don’t teach you this stuff in school just for the fun of it. If you want to use “txt tlk”, “d00d sp3ak”, ” l33t sp34k” or whatever-wacky-name-they-call-it on your mobile phone when chatting with your friends, fine, have at it. But loose it everywhere else. Even on Facebook. It is hard to read and extremely unprofessional. Frankly, it makes you look like an idiot who can’t be bothered to do it right. Most people looking for someone to partner with are not looking for illiterate candidates. They want a professional (at the very least in appearance) person that they can work with without having to break out the decoder ring every time they want to chat. On that same note, if you’re already working from home and looking to build your team… people are not likely to join, or purchase from, someone who talks like they failed grade school English. If they like your company, they’re likely to find another representative to join with.  Now, I’m not saying you need to be an English Major (I’m certainly not!), but put some effort into it! It’s not that hard to capitalize your “I”‘s, either. Give it a try. Oh! Watch out for your, you’re, two, too, to, there, their, they’re, etc… they like to sneak up on us and make us look dumb! 😎
  3. Leave the Spam in the can. Congratulations! You are a Work At Home human! Now you need to tell everyone everywhere how awesome your company is and/or products are! Send an email to everyone you know… everywhere! Do it all day every day until someone joins you! Update Facebook & Twitter every 15-30 minutes with your companies’ compensation plan and sales, get tweeting, post it on your friend’s walls! Er… um… Annoying much? A once in a while status update is okay, I do that myself, but constant business updates are no different than sending unsolicited emails to strangers. Create a page and let people opt in (and out)  if you want to post constantly. Don’t force your friends to listen to your “ads”… There’s this little option called “hide posts from news feed” on Facebook and if you annoy your friends enough for them to use it, they’ll never see your status updates… not even the ones about your new puppy, Rex. And do not subscribe your friends to your newsletter or blog. Invite them once, maybe once every few months or so, in a personal message to each friend (not a generic group email), and then let it go. One of my Facebook contacts added me to her email newsletter after talking to her once about what she does from home and I’ve just been “too nice” to tell her how annoyed I am about that. If I want to sign up for something, I’ll do it myself. Have respect for your friends and contacts. People that constantly harass their friends have a bad habit of getting removed from friend’s lists and contact books.
  4. Personal vs. Professional. For most people Facebook and other “social networks” are just that, “social” networks. However, most people have contacts from work on their friend’s lists, be it from a “day job” or “work at home”. This is a “dangerous” mix. Especially if you’re one who likes to ‘party and post’. You may think the picture of you in your underwear covered in Cheetos and beer singing karaoke from on top of the bar, or the one where you’re writing profanities on a passed out party-goers forehead or backside  is downright hilarious, and it may be, but it’s highly unprofessional and should be shared only with those you can blackmail to keep from sharing the pics with the wrong person… just kidding… blackmail is wrong, m’kay?… and… well… anyone with access to these pictures can now use them against you (for example when they’re mad at you for outdoing them at work or stealing their girlfriend), so you might want to rethink sharing them on the internet. Your boss, co-workers, mom (or whoever you don’t want to see them) may not be on your friends list, but that doesn’t mean someone who is won’t show them through their account. And besides, funny or not, they just aren’t professional, especially if you’re trying to get anywhere with your home biz through your personal connections & profiles. And while we’re at it, so is foul language. Just don’t do it. We’ve all been guilty of this at one point or another, especially when angry, but we need to stop.
  5. Shut it. Yeah, yeah, yeah if you can’t say anything nice… blah, blah, blah. This is actually very important. Do not badmouth previous employers, co-workers, old friends, anyone, not even to your friends, which I must regrettable admit that I’ve done in the past. It makes you look bad. If you need to file a complaint about a company do it professionally. Leave a constructive review in the appropriate forum. It’s one thing to say “I went here and they did this” (like the time we went to a local car dealer who diagnosed our car with a $1000+ problem that my husband fixed himself for under $100) but leave it at that. If you have to say something, stick to facts, avoid feelings and then drop it. Carrying on and on about a bad experience makes you look like a whiny crybaby. Suck it up cupcake!

So that’s my list of just a few things to avoid when trying to maintain a professional appearance online. There are several others that I could discuss, but they are a little more controversial, like personal causes, politics, religion and sex (oh my!) but I’m just not in the mood to “go there’. Mostly because I have mixed feelings on sharing my views on things I support or do not support once in a while. Use the dying art of Common Sense in all you do and you’ll be just fine!