Be the best you can be at work!

Professionalism at the workplace affects current and future employment.

The image you portray at work is important for both your current career and future employment. It is a good idea to consider the choices you make during a work day in regards to your behavior and how it will impact your job. Professionalism at the workplace is the quality of behavior that you demonstrate that is not directly content-related.   

Michigan State University Extension suggests considering these areas of professionalism:

  1. Interactions with others- Employers want to have a smooth working environment where productivity is the focus. Getting along with others is a component of this peaceful work environment. While conflict can naturally arise, consider your interaction style and whether you can work more efficiently and effectively with others through developing your communication and conflict resolution skills. These are skills that will help you in your professional and personal life.
  2. Use of technology- It is important to have current skills in technology to stay up-to-date with the technological trends especially in our global economy today. However, it is also important to be present when you are at work. With the availability of laptops, tablets and smart-phones, there is a tendency to want to engage in these tools constantly. Focus on your work and the current task at hand. Avoid being distracted by the latest e-mail, social media posting or game by turning off these items and only using them when it is necessary for your immediate work.
  3. Timeliness- This relates back to the productivity and reliability that an employee shows at work. If you are coming in 10 minutes late and leaving 10 minutes early, taking extra time at lunch and constantly making personal phone calls, you are not the hard-working and dedicated employee that employers are looking for, and want to promote! Plan ahead so you can be on time ,or early to work and don’t abuse break or lunch time.  
  4. Work ethic- Sometimes mistakes happen or you are late due to traffic but constantly making excuses, blaming others or not following through on projects will end up affecting your overall reputation. This will ultimately impact success in your current job or in future fields. If you want to keep your job or advance your career, you need to be a valuable asset to the job and that means being a dedicated staff member.

Professionalism is about being the best person you can be at your place of employment. Consider who you want to be, challenge yourself to continue to grow and improve in your professionalism at work.

MSU Extension has a great deal of resources to help you with your professional growth and making sure you keep and succeed in your career. More information from MSU Extension can be found on the Michigan 4-H Career website.

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