It is no longer good enough to be present. You must be impressive. Otherwise, judgment on your professionalism creates distance, not association. In today’s social climate, everything has a professional undertone. Meetings with friends, play dates with other parents and children, or visiting with friends often require an appointment. There are many layers to people’s lives today. You’re expected to respect other’s time and at least acknowledge the effort to help.
Don’t be the last to understand a certain person is unapproachable. Even our closest friends have layers of relationships requiring different rules of engagement for each layer. Your professional network expects the same from you in understanding each person is different. You must do more than just capture attention. Your presence must move them to act. You must impress them to be memorable, and “wow” them to want to associate with you.
Employers have rules of engagement too. Since video recording and the spirit of transparency reigns today, unprofessionalism is noted. You don’t want to be THAT man or woman who mistreats, misquotes, or misappropriates anything. Employers are looking. Your network is looking.
I noticed these 11 attributes from people who exude professionalism. Be sure these are a part of your communication and overall presentation:
1. You are direct
Your voice in writing and presentation speaks much louder, and your actions yell as either a fan at a sporting event or as an antagonist at a political rally. If people are guessing what you’re asking or responding to, then the respect you expect will dissipate.
2. You remember names
Forgetting a name is an awful habit. If you met the person more than twice, this could change the game for you in all of the wrong ways. Not to mention it says how much you care about the individual. It is hard if you’re meeting many people when starting a new job.
But if you don’t have the job yet, you’re obstructing your efforts. I would highly recommend Jerry Lucas, Dr. Memory series, notably the remembering names series. Don’t be fooled, forgetting names is an employment stumbling block. Remember: Professionalism is the end result. You will be remembered for not being interested if you forget names.
As a job seeker, you are at the mercy of everyone and his godfather. Signs of impatience and petulance could disqualify you – it’s your personal smoking gun. Even if your face scrunched as it’s ready to be boxed is seen, it is a turn-off, and your non-verbal or verbal angst is considered to be bratty or self-entitled. Take the edge off as much as you can. Ask coworkers or people you know how do you come across in business situations.
4. Answer the phone with tact
We might be talking about phone etiquette here, but it is important to tactfully and respectfully answer calls professionally. People are still surprised and enchanted when speaking to someone who is trying to impress them (without regards to position). Even if the caller is agitated, our voice, tone and wordings can diffuse the bomb before it blows, if we’re tactful and respectful.
5. Each person is important
Treating the secretary as if he or she is the CEO is a powerful tool. Don’t think it doesn’t impress the people who interview you. If executed well, more opportunities will increase your engagement with people and encourage a conversation rather than an interrogation.
6. Timing is everything
What you say is important, but when you say it could be the difference between being a professional or disrespectful. You learn when to talk about salary and perks because sooner than later is not a good strategy. If something bothers you about a part of the hiring process, it matters when and who you talk to. It is wise not to speak with anyone about it when you don’t have all of the information.
7. Clarity in everything
You must clearly communicate in every phase with everyone involved in your hiring process (essentially it’s everyone you meet). Typical communication mishaps are unfinished thoughts, bad grammar, unclear speech or dialect, and many times lack eye contact. Professionalism is also seeking clarity. Questions show enthusiasm and interest.
Some of it is culture related, but when you struggle with clarity you can always:
– Repeat what you said in a slightly different way
– Ask the person if what you said was clear (with a humble attitude)
– Provide a follow-up email to significant conversations
Being late for meetings, events, and even phone calls can leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth. Coffee, lunch, scheduled phone calls and casual meet-ups count as much like job interviews even if it is with a colleague. When you’re on time, excellence can be assumed or at minimum care about the work at hand.
9. Allowing accountability
It’s more important to have self-accountability, but providing an option for people to follow-up empowers them. The trick is for them to find it unnecessary because you want to show out. Offering transparency creates trust and faith in your abilities, but it also shows you don’t mind putting your reputation to your work.
10. You’re honest with your mistakes
No one expects you to confess your sins in a public way, but how you respond to others mistakes says a lot about you. Empathy helps when others can feel through experience by walking in their shoes. Mistakes are human, and handling gaffes with grace and tact seal your authenticity and professionalism.
11. Your social updates are thoughtfully and carefully crafted
If you have an acute sense of humor, it doesn’t mean you have to be serious. I think even comedians who are known for their brash humor add context to their stories. Without context, we’re all vulnerable to incessant criticism and misunderstanding. Therefore, your attempts to connect with your network are futile without clarity and context.
Every interaction counts during your job search and as you advance in your career. Whether people view you from far away, online, or shaking hands with you, no one should doubt your professionalism. I just mention a few ways to be professional, but there are more. Mainly, you want people to rave about you after you leave the room.
Featured photo credit: www.insidehighered.com via insidehighered.com
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