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Being vs. Looking Professional and trustworthy

What sort of look do you want?

People often say they want to look “professional and trustworthy”.

What do they mean? Specifically? Because I don’t have a secret recipe to make someone look professional and trustworthy.

It clearly does not mean wearing a suit and looking corporate. Boring.

Wearing a black turtleneck and a pair of jeans (i.e. Steve Jobs and Tim Cook) can be seen as professional and trustworthy for some people.

A grey hoodie in Silicon Valley may send a message of ‘too busy to care’ while the same outfit could mean something totally different in Paris.

Of course, I’m exaggerating. The point is that what makes looking professional (or trustworthy) can vary depending on context and it is highly subjective based on an audience’s perception.

I’d like to insist instead that professionalism and trustworthiness need to be considered and exercised as being rather than merely looking.

Being professional means we consistently deliver results.
Being trustworthy means we show up and ship frequently.

It’s through action we are seen as professionals and trusted, and not merely because we are dressed to look like we’re professional and/or trustworthy.

When I hear or read that someone is requesting ‘professional and trustworthy’ photos, I see that request as pretty much meaningless. My work begins with seeking further. How precisely could I make this person’s image work for her brand?

She may well need to wear a suit but that’s highly unlikely. It is usually an outfit that is appropriate for her personality, for her work and/or for her audience’s perception. And most of all, it makes her feel and look good.

How do you really want to be seen?
Could you go beyond professional and trustworthy?

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