Employability Skills: Professionalism

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Ways to Demonstrate Your Professionalism at Work

  • Have you had to wait for a client/ colleague to show up in time for a meeting?
  • Did you bear the brunt of a co-worker’s frustration and bad language at work?
  • Was a customer service employee rude or showing negative attitude to you?
  • And what about having to put in extra hours of work just because your team member did not finish his or her tasks on time?

Well then, you have already faced unprofessional behaviour from people. When you hear the term ‘professionalism,’ you have a general idea of what it means – behaving professionally – being well-dressed and punctual, respecting and supporting other employees, being dependable and committed, being positive and focused etc.

Regardless of your job role or industry, ‘Professionalism’ is an employability skill that employers value a lot – it encompasses most of the qualities sought under soft skills in an employee. However, since it is a combination of various skills, it is not an easy skill to develop, and can take years of practice and experience to imbibe all aspects of professionalism.

Professionalism - Employability Skills

Here are certain core professional skills which will help you have an advantage over others at your workplace.

Ways to Demonstrate Your Professionalism at Work:

Prepare For Work and Meetings

When you have a meeting or presentation at work, be well prepared with facts and questions as well as the presentation files and equipment. Do not depend on co-workers or team members to help you at the last minute. Take a notepad and pen to meetings whether your job requires a laptop or not.

Keep Your To-Do Lists Updated

Staying organized helps you multi-task and finish your tasks on time. To-do lists are always helpful. Jotg down things that you have to finish each day and tick them off the list at the end of the day. If you use a laptop, keep your work files organized into folders. A clutter-free desk or workspace also helps you think clearly.

Speak Well and Listen Better

Sometimes, you may forget to control our emotions and shout or abuse when things go wrong at work. This is very detrimental to your professional image. Speak clearly and listen patiently. Written communication skills via email or text are also important. Improve your communication skills.

Avoid Gossip and Politics

We all have our personal opinions and political views. Do not discuss them at work. Stay away from co-workers who try to involve you in office gossip. Your personal reputation will be spoilt by talking behind your co-workers and you will lose respect in their eyes. You must also refrain from making racial or sexual jokes.

Be Positive and Stay Focused

With a positive attitude, you can tackle most difficulties you encounter at work with efficiency. You can take on new challenges and opportunities without fear. Do not complain about colleagues or your company or boss. Your optimistic attitude can motivate and inspire your colleagues.

Staying focused is important to problem-solving at work. Do not let your personal life interfere with your professional life.

Help and Support Your Team

To be a good team-player, you have to willingly help and support your team members. Listen to their problems and help when required. Suggest and offer ideas for others to improve themselves at work. Teamwork involves cooperation and collaboration to achieve a common goal. Individual credit is not what you should look out for. Be proud of the achievements of your whole team and don’t blame anyone during failure.

Be Honest and Responsible

If something goes wrong because of you, be honest and take responsibility. You will earn more respect. Lying in order to take leave from work will become a habit. Take a personal holiday instead. Lying on your resume is serious and can cost you your future at the risk of facing legal action.

Have Your Ethics in Place

Your integrity of character is defined by your ethics and values. Being conscientious and diligent at ensuring that work is done properly and on time shows your high standard of work ethics. It shows that you are a reliable and dependable employee.

Be Competent and Upgrade Your Skills

Your competency is your asset at your workplace. Staying updated and upgraded on the technical skills, tools and knowledge required to perform your job will make you competent. Always be willing to accept your limitations and weaknesses and work on them. If required, speak to your manager and apply for courses to help you get further education or qualification.

Respect All and Be Empathetic

Always treat people of all age groups, irrespective of designation, the type of job they do, their gender or their ethnicity with equal respect and kindness. You should be empathetic to the needs of others, especially if they are physically or mentally challenged, as it is important to inclusivity and diversity in all organizations.

Keep a Check on Time

Do not be late to work or to meetings at work. Do not take long lunch breaks or tea/coffee breaks that interfere with your productivity at work. Reach your workplace early and give yourself time to settle in at work each day. Plan your work such that you do not have to take work home or stay back late hours to finish work.

Don’t Dress for a Party or the Weekend

Dress appropriately. Do not dress to work as if you are dressing for a party – unless there is a themed party day or office party, of course. Wearing slippers or floaters and shorts and tank tops to work might be accepted in certain companies. Familiarize yourself with the dress code of your company. Pay attention to personal hygiene and grooming.

From making a good first impression at work on your first day to achieving success throughout your career, developing your professional skills is important in life.

Would you like to share instances at work, where being professional helped you? How about letting us know about unprofessional attitudes you have faced at work? For more articles on employability skills, visit <Employability Skills link>.

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