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Turning professional

December 13, 2022 by Kelly Kendall-Jones

Turning professional

Semester has ended – hooray! – and you’ve scored a great summer internship opportunity, or maybe you’ve just completed your degree – go you! – and have successfully secured a spot in a fabulous graduate program for 2023.

It’s your time to impress, and a great way to do so is by developing your professional presence. Although ability to be professional may not be listed in any job description, it’s important to demonstrate professionalism in the workplace every day.

Acting professionally can help you build credibility, gain respect and recognition, and help develop your network. What’s more, those who display personal professionalism are often perceived to be more competent and valuable, which can increase your prospects for promotion and other opportunities.

So, what are some characteristics of professionalism? Here are a few to consider:

  • Reliability – being reliable is important to workplace success. When colleagues can rely on each other to produce good work or respond promptly to requests, teams run efficiently and effectively and are more likely to meet goals and overcome challenges.
    Some ways you can demonstrate reliability include always following through with what you’ve committed to doing, being consistent in your work, following set procedures and processes, and giving your full attention to the task at hand.
  • Etiquette – every workplace has an unwritten code of conduct, which may also referred to as the office norms. Get to know your workplace environment and follow suit. This means being polite and always treating others with respect, dressing appropriately, keeping personal matters to a minimum, and avoiding negative politics.
    Behaving with etiquette is also about how you communicate with others. Being a good listener, not dominating conversations, being mindful of cultural diversity, and not offending others will all go a long way in establishing a good reputation.
  • Work ethic – demonstrating a strong work ethic shows your employer you’re committed to your role. A willingness to put in extra efforts to meet the needs of an organisation highlights your dedication to your employer and can go a long way to enhance your reputation as a professional, which may help advance your career.
    Displaying a strong work ethic might include meeting deadlines, maintaining a positive attitude about your job, and even taking the initiative by volunteering for new projects. A strong work ethic also means you’ll deliver on your promises and take responsibility for your actions.
  • Time management – being a professional also includes managing your time effectively. This means arriving to meetings on time, following lunch and break schedules, and meeting deadlines. If you struggle with time management, review your schedule at the beginning of each day so you know what you have on and what your workload looks like. Keep your diary up-to-date and give yourself alerts ahead of time of what’s coming up soon in your calendar. This will ensure you don’t miss anything important and risk letting your team down.
  • Teamwork – since many jobs require you to work with others, it’s important you’re able to collaborate, communicate and resolve conflict effectively. Teamwork happens when people cooperate and use their individual skills to achieve common goals. There might be times where you find yourself having to work with someone you don’t particularly like. While it might be difficult, try to set aside any differences and stay focused on the task at hand.

In a nutshell, professionalism is about always giving your best. Being responsible, ethical and team oriented, as well as displaying a positive attitude towards your work and colleagues, will go a long way to establishing your professional presence and positive reputation.

If you’d like to develop your professionalism, the online Skilled Professional Challenge introduces you to some of the skills you’ll need to be be your best at work.

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