MOST of us are familiar with Singapore Idol - the star-spangled contest that plucks vocalists from virtual obscurity and helps mould them into a polished package that audiences and record companies simply cannot get enough of.

What most employees do not realise is that many executives who hire and fire are also basing their decisions on the individual's total package - presence, positivity, poise, perseverance and your professional style.

Possessing the right qualifications and talent are important factors, but it's the way individuals present themselves that help them win instant appeal in the eyes of an employer.

In these difficult times, organisations are looking for a certain star quality, or "X factor" if you like. Time and time again, research shows that even in economic downturns, people who present themselves well are more certain to get noticed and will win the highly sought-after jobs.

So how would you rate in a Business Idol competition? Let the five Ps of packaging be the guiding light to your professional success.

Presence

It's often considered a rare quality, yet everyone has presence and the potential to develop and cultivate it.

People with outstanding presence show that they are committed to and enjoying the moment. They are energised from the inside and are intent on letting people know that they are approachable and "open for business". It is that unique factor that makes others turn their heads when these special people enter the room.

Professional style

Developing your own special branding blueprint is certainly not going to happen overnight. A great professional style (in the way you work and the way you appear) can take years, even a lifetime, to nurture.

A good place to start is by understanding your strengths and building on the good things you already possess. Start by asking yourself how you see yourself and how you would like to be perceived in your corporate environment.

Are you the rare type who constantly projects a "can do" attitude? Does everyone know you as the person who fixes almost anything? Or do you have a reputation for having a sloppy, almost laid-back work ethic? Now is the time to start working hard on improving your professional style.

Poise

Few professionals realise how powerful non-verbal communication can be. Poise is more than just holding your head up high. It involves thinking about your actions and words before being swept away in the heat of the moment.

Showing professional poise means taking time to think through your next move and using non-threatening, positive body language. This shows that you are in control, and it is particularly useful when your authority is being questioned.

Positivity

Being positive about your work and those around you can be tough to maintain day in and day out. The trick is to know that being positive is contagious. By behaving in an upbeat and confident way, you make others feel confident about you.

Make a point of eliminating negative and antagonistic language from your vocabulary. Not every office is a bed of roses, but you can all make the best of your time at work by being more positive.

Perseverance

Setbacks in your career are inevitable stepping stones on the pathway to success. Confident people get knocked down but have enough fighting spirit to pick themselves up and battle it out another day.

People who constantly persevere often realise that they have little control over circumstances. These people do not wait around to feel better - they take action to make things better.

There are a multitude of ways you can improve your professional packaging and become an outstanding "business idol".

This doesn't mean that you can afford to skimp on the skills and talent required to do a great job, but it does remind you to look at the bigger picture when you want to leave a lasting and favourable impression.

Learning how to present the very best of yourself is essential if you are to get a job, keep a job or succeed in a job. Much like Singapore Idol, the workplace is full of judges who are ready to criticise, pounce and spoil your big moment in the spotlight.

By designing a sparkling professional package around these five Ps, you can rest assured that you are giving yourself the best possible opportunity for a perfect career score.