Be sure to check out our Competent Muleriders blog post to see an introduction to all of our career competencies. Also, keep an eye out for the other 7 career competency blog posts as well.
Professionalism is important in the workplace and to employers looking for college graduates to join their workforce. Many people think being professional is as simple as showing up on time and doing your work. And it is to be clear, but there is more to it than just that.
Being a professional is understanding the difference in workplaces and demonstrating basic and effective work strategies in all areas of the workplace. This is a good way to also put the interest of the company and larger community above your own, which is important to being a professional. Professionalism is seen as a loss of individualism by a lot of people, but it’s not true. You can still be yourself and do things your own way, but you need to prioritize the company or communities needs over your own. More things that are part of being a professional are that you should have: integrity, dependability, and consistency.
You should do things the right way when you are asked to, and not make someone ask you to do it again or do it better. When you have to be asked multiple times to do something or to correct something, supervisors or coworkers begin to look for something else to do the job that you do. They will not look to you for jobs they need to be done, because you don’t have any integrity when it comes to your work.
The previous section plays into dependability also, but this focuses on being on time to work events, like meetings, presentations, coming back from lunch, and being at work on time and not leaving early either. You can also be dependable in your work, which ties into consistency, as we’ll discuss in a moment. When people can trust you to be in your office or at the worksite on time or early even, they begin to notice that you have a schedule and like to follow it. This will build rapport with fellow employees. They may remember this dependability when looking to promote someone or when looking for advice on a big project. If you are one of the first faces they see in the mornings or the last faces they see in the office still, this sticks in their minds.
Your work should be consistent too. In other words, you shouldn’t rush projects without taking much into consideration just to finish quickly. But, you also shouldn’t procrastinate until a week before your deadline and try to throw something together. Consistently work on the task after you are given it, and take your time to complete it so that you do your best work. Consistency in work, and the level of work at that, will give your supervisor and coworkers more confidence in you. It will also lead to less micro-managing from those around you, as you have instilled that confidence in them that you will finish this task and finish it on time.
Having consistency also creates that dependability in your work as I mentioned earlier, which helps to increase your professionalism. Combining consistency with dependability makes the integrity much more natural as well. And when all three of these are used regularly, effectively, and directly, you will have a much more professional outlook at work and in review of your work.
I hope this blog post helps to inform you about professionalism and how you can use it. If you still have questions after reading this, please stop by Career Services in Bruce 212; or send us an email at CareerServices@saumag.edu.