How to Be a Professional in the Workplace

By Edilma Rodriguez, Workforce Connection Center Manager, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago

Being a professional is more than how we look, our formal education and our professional achievements. It is also the qualities, values and behaviors we choose to display in the workplace — whether working remotely or in person with others.

Regardless of your job title, education or position within an organization, everyone is expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner at work. You are there to do a job, represent the company and are responsible for your behaviors during your working hours.

Let’s take a look at some characteristics a true professional demonstrates in the workplace:

Use a Proper Demeanor

Your professionalism starts with how you conduct yourself inside and out. It is carrying yourself with respect. Your communication, appearance and behaviors should reflect respect, integrity, honesty and empathy. It is important to keep that balance in both your professional and personal life. Having control of your emotions without losing your poise while facing challenging situations should be an area to focus on in the workplace.

Be Reliable

A true professional follows through with their commitments, is accountable for their share of the work, and completes assignments on time. Being reliable also means being punctual and prepared in meetings.

Seeking knowledge and trainings to enhance your skills demonstrates your desire to show competency and keeps you up to date with the trends in your profession. That is your responsibility as a true professional.

Get Organized

Organizational skills are key to be considered a professional. Your ability to stay organized means you understand your priorities at hand, know how to manage your time wisely, and stay focused on accomplishing goals and objectives.

It is also a visual factor. My mother used to tell me that “your house is an image of yourself.” As I translate that in the workplace, it means a place where people feel welcome, comfortable and at ease. It’s a clean and organized area where I can have people come in to visit and conduct meetings, and it’s a place where I or others can find things easily.

Use Good Communication Etiquette

When I think of communication etiquette, I think of diplomacy. You represent a company/organization; therefore, any form of communication should be conducted with the utmost respect and follow company protocol. Use proper language with everyone at work and maintain poise in all work-related conversations. That is how you show maturity, respect, work ethic, professionalism and, most of all, YOU set the standards for those around you.

Be the Brand

Think of work as your second family name. Maintaining a positive attitude and serving as an advocate/ambassador is what will mark your brand. With that, a professional understands that embracing a collaborative work environment is also their responsibility. Innovation, creativity and commitment should be part of the characteristics you want others to know you by as a professional.

This post originally appeared in the Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin What Works blog. Read more.