How To Be Professional

Published: April 23, 2010
By: Faye Hollands

I haven’t come across a job yet that doesn’t require some level of professionalism.  But being ‘professional’ is such a broad term, how do you know if you’re hitting the mark?  Just because you wear a suit or have a particular job title doesn’t mean that you’ve got professionalism under-wraps.  So before you take The Big P for granted, make sure you’re following these 3 key steps…

Take A Look At Yourself

There are many definitions in the dictionary of what ‘professional’ actually means but importantly it isn’t about being in a particular job or occupation.  So if you consider yourself to be professional just because you’re a lawyer or accountant for example, that’s not enough.  Similarly, everyone should aim to have some professional standards, so regardless of your career path, there are some key things you really should focus on.

Follow this 3 step checklist to make sure you’re being as professional as possible: –

1.  Scrub-Up

Whether you like it or not, appearance counts and it does contribute to how professional people perceive you to be.  That doesn’t mean you need to wear a suit – you simply need to wear appropriate clothes that are clean and fit well.  A well turned-out tradesperson in a tidy uniform can be seen as far more professional than an office worker in a low cut top and short skirt for example!  Think about the image you are trying to portray and match your appearance appropriately.

2.  Leave Your Potty-Mouth At Home

Talking of appropriateness, the way you communicate has a huge impact on how professional you’re perceived to be.  It doesn’t matter what job you do, swearing will never be a prerequisite on a position description, nor will it help you in the professionalism stakes.  Similarly, slang and inappropriate phrases along with general rambling and poor communication will do nothing other than damage your image.  On the flip side, being able to communicate your ideas and opinions clearly, and with respect, will serve you much more positively.  Again, it doesn’t matter whether you sit behind a desk, or work on a building site, being able to communicate appropriately is an important ingredient in the professionalism-mix!

3.  Stop Moaning

There’s a lot to be said for having a positive attitude, and I also believe it contributes to how professional you are.  There’s nothing worse than being in a meeting for example and someone constantly putting your ideas down or finding reasons why things can’t be done.  Work is about finding solutions, not blocking them, and if you’re constantly looking for the negative you’re really not setting a good impression.  Being competent in what you do and actively looking for the answers to problems, whilst maintaining an upbeat attitude will help you get ahead in your career and further enhance your image.

There are many other factors that help contribute to a sense of professionalism, and to some degree they are personal preferences.  For example, I’m a stickler for being on time and I find it unprofessional when people are late without a valid reason – but to others time isn’t such an important factor.

Either way though, if you turn up to work or to an interview dressed appropriately, with the right attitude and the ability to communicate effectively you are well on your way to creating a professional impression!

If you would like to find out more about how coaching can help you get ahead in your career book your free 30-minute coaching consultation now.  Simply click here to schedule your appointment.

Written by Faye Hollands – Director at Outshine Consulting.  Faye is an accomplished Career Coach and Time Management Specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career they love, get more done in less time, and achieve personal and professional success.  You can contact Faye on +61 2 8323 4335 or email

Faye Hollands

About Faye Hollands

Faye is an accomplished Career Coach, Small Business Coach and Productivity Specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career they love, get more done in less time, and achieve personal and professional success. To receive weekly articles to improve your career, business and time management skills click here or book your Free Focus Session here.

You can contact Faye on +61 2 8323 4335 or email

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *




Free Download

"How To Create A Career You Love"

Get the best career, productivity and small business coaching tips straight to your inbox every week, plus our eBook 'How To Create A Career You Love' (worth $37.00) free when you subscribe.

We respect your privacy. You can remove yourself from the mailing list at any time.
or skip signup