Professionalism: Dress, Communication & Outlook

In a day and age where standards, technology and protocol are consistently evolving words like professionalism can appear extremely relative, even unclear. There are so many what ifs and hypothetical situations that can make the lines that at one point may have clearly defined this word a little blurred. The job, season, company, industry, management and even region all play a role in what lays out the ground rules for what is deemed “professional.”

My job here is help out with this in the best way I can and give ya’ll some ground rules of my own in the following areas: dress, communication and expanding your overall professional outlook.

Dress.

This is where I say something cliche like “dress like the position you want.” It’s perfectly okay to be overdressed and then become more casual after you have secured a job, and have a better idea of the job’s environment. It also helps to do some research before the interview about the company’s expectations. And once you have secured the job, make sure your attire reflects the values and the overall fit of the job. If your job values comfort and convenience, dress the part. If you are in a more conservative place, dress the part!

Communication.

This term defined here means the connecting of people or places, sounds important, huh, oh because it is! In fact it is imperative to the art of professionalism. It is important to understand that over-communicating will also play out better than a lacking in that area. Effectively communicating with people in your work environment shows that you value others’ time and you are invested in this place of business. It’s easy to get busy, and accidentally fail to communicate with co-workers, but intentionality in this area will take you far and likely enhance your relationships with your colleagues. Give it a try, I promise you will relish in the results.
We’ve addressed the big things, now let’s think small:
  • Thank you letters after someone has worked especially hard or done something nice for you.
  • Arriving to work early to prepare for work
  • Responding to emails promptly, this goes hand-in-hand with communication 🙂
  • Speech: let’s make sure that conversations had at work are work appropriate

All in all, the term professionalism can seem pretty broad, but if you focus on the above tips I am sure you too can conquer this feat!