Being professional at work is one of the most crucial aspects of success. Why? Your professionalism creates the opportunity for career advancement, whether that means opening a door to new responsibilities, a new opportunity, a raise, or even a bonus. While your attitude towards your boss, coworkers, and clients should always remain courteous and respectful, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun and show your personality (we certainly do here at Synectics Media). At the end of the day, the way you present yourself and how you communicate and interact with others at work will, in turn, affect your career and advancement.
Regardless of where you work, there are some great ways to act professional in the workplace. What are some of my top professional tips? Read on!
Dress to Impress
Of course, this will depend on the industry that you work in and your company’s dress code. The best way to gauge how you should dress is to take note of other employees’ attire. Are they wearing suits with collared shirts or nice jeans and a t shirt? If you don’t think an outfit is appropriate for work then it’s probably meant for after work hours. Regardless of what you choose to wear, it’s important to always show up to work clean and well groomed.
Be on Time
Whether it’s for the start of your work day, a meeting, or a project deadline, being on time (or even early) is a great way to act professional in the workplace. It will get you noticed, too!
Heavy traffic, meetings that run over the slotted time, and even last minute fire drills happen. I get it and I’ve definitely been there before, but it’s important to not make a habit out of always being late or past deadline. Not only will this show your lack of respect for your team but it can, in turn, delay important deliverables.
When in doubt, try to arrive 10 minutes early for a work day or a meeting and try to complete tasks 24 hours before the due date - trust me, this time management won’t go unnoticed. In fact, you’ll be viewed as dependable, which brings me to my next point.
From working consistent hours to producing top-quality work, being dependable in your actions and work will make you excel in your career. You’ll even get bonus points in your coworkers’ eyes if you’re able to swoop in and help out during a last minute fire drill. When colleagues recognize that you’re good at your job, they’ll start to become more comfortable with you, which can lead to more responsibilities or even a new position.
Be Great at Your Job
In conjunction with the above, in order to become dependable, you need to gain confidence from your team that you’ll get the job done every time. You can do this by staying up-to-date on new advances in your field, taking online and in-person courses, and just going above and beyond when you can. Striving to produce your best results on all tasks while staying up-to-date on company and department internal information will also help you to be great at your job.
Being organized helps you to decrease your chances of missing deadlines or misplacing work files. It will also help to increase your own confidence in yourself! From always carrying around pen and paper to creating weekly and daily to-do lists, you’ll be able to continuously stay organized (and sane)!
Stay Focused on Work
In today’s world with smartphones and social media, it’s hard to not automatically respond to your friend’s latest post on Facebook. But when you’re at work, a true professional stays focused on work-related tasks. Of course, small and infrequent breaks can help to keep you focused and calm (especially if you’re feeling a bit stressed) but constantly using work time for personal matters is a big no-no. Being professional at work means staying focused on work.
Excel at Communication Internally & Externally
There is a distinct difference in how you communicate inside your organization and outside. To be successful at both, you’ll need to show respect and common courtesy in email and face-to-face communications.
For internal communication, it’s key to master communication between different types of people and different departments. For example, someone in an administrative role might like a more direct tone in an email while someone in the creative department might need some face time with you. It’s all about getting your point across while being mindful and always keeping your cool.
External communication is a whole new ball game! It’s key to always remember that the client, vendor, and customer is always right. Whether you’re communicating over email, on the phone, or even on social media, it’s a good idea to re-read or even pause to think how you can respond in a professional manner while still answering their questions and concerns.
Pro-tip: if you’re locked in a difficult conversation over email, it’s a good idea to set up a meeting or phone call to discuss the issue further. This shows others that you know how to deal with confrontation in a brave, mature, and head-on manner.
Take Responsibility & Be Honest
Going hand in hand with the above, professionals aren’t afraid to take responsibility and admit when they’re wrong - and colleagues will respect you for it, too. Additionally, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions or admit that you don’t know something. A true professional is always eager to learn and better themselves.
Having an upbeat attitude and trying to be a problem solver goes a long way! A professional looks forward to the daily opportunities, challenges, and surprises. Bringing a positive and optimistic attitude will help to motivate and inspire the rest of your team members, too.
These are just some of the ways that you can stay professional at work. Did we miss one of your favorite professional tips? Talk to us in the comments below!