How to Develop Professionalism

Whenever you enter the workforce, there is an amount of professionalism that is expected from you no matter where you work. Professionalism is defined as the competence or skill expected of a professional. This professionalism varies from place to place but it is a requirement. These skills are vital to obtain when entering a profession. Our goal is to further improve this sense of professionalism to a point where it looks natural and effortless which will improve your appearance as a professional.


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    Adjust your personality. Personality is what most people will look for when meeting anyone whether making a friend or meeting an employer. Your personality is by far the most influential aspect when it comes to being professional. Some essential qualities in a professional personality tend to include the following.
    • Being formal – Acting properly in the appropriate setting.
    • Respectful – Giving regards to those rewarded by their abilities, qualities, & achievements.
    • Consistent – Able to provide the same amount of efficiency in your work
    • Knowledgeable – Intelligent and well-informed
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    Communicate. In order to function properly as a professional, you have to be able to communicate efficiently. The most important part is being able to listen. Listening is an excellent skill that allows you to understand and take interest in what others say. It allows information to be exchanged easier and it is a skill sought out among all employees, no matter the profession. As important as it is to listen to others, you should also know when to voice yourself. Allow others to hear your decisions and opinions and you may be rewarded for your hard work and efforts. Communication is the key to your success no matter where you are in life.
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    Dress the part. Looking the part is important to being professional. If everyone is in suits, you should be in a suit as well. You should dress to match the appropriate professional background you're trying to fit into.
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    Learn how to behave. You'll easily be viewed as immature and irresponsible if you're not able to maintain maturity in the area of work. This means you shouldn't play around and you should take your work seriously. Some ideal ways to behave may include the following.
    • Do your work - You’ll want to remain a hard worker who is efficient and reliable.
    • Be disciplined – Follow rules and do what is expected of you.
    • Don’t get personal – It’s not professional to mix your personal life with your work life.
    • Cooperate – It’s in your best interest to work well with those around you.
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    Learn the skills necessary to maintain yourself and excel. There are a lot of personal skills along with technical skills that are required to remain as a professional. Some personal skills may be ethicality, responsibility, and diligence while some technical skills may be communications, service, and other profession-related skills. For example, if you're a working in IT, you should have a good knowledge on computer software and programming.
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    Work ethically. Professional ethics is defined as the personal and corporate rules that govern behavior within the context of a particular profession. Professionals are always being questioned for their choices whether they are ethical or not. In fact, this controversy is what may define someone as a professional. Professionals work morally and developing a sense of good ethics will come a long way. An example of professional ethics is the American Bar Association’s set of ethical rules that govern an attorney’s moral obligations.
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    Be formal. To be formal is to do things in accordance with a set of rules or etiquette. This etiquette must be suitable for the situation or occasion. To be formal, you’ll want to be respectable, well-mannered, and abiding to the general standards set beforehand. In most cases, this means being serious, emotionless, and to speak properly as well.
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    Be good at what you do. It's important to take your work seriously and what is expected of you. Your competency will determine a great deal of how well you can handle life as a professional. Do your work not only to complete but to excel. People will look at you with a higher regard when you’re good at what you do. Be efficient while being consistent with all that you do.
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    Be respectful. Always show respect to those around you whether they're your superiors or whether you're their superior. The goal is treat everyone with respect and soon, people will show you respect. Treat those how you want to be treated. Surely, in order to gain great respect, you must be prepared to give it. The results may not be immediate but over time, there will be progress.
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    Be punctual. Time is of the essence. As a very scarce and important resource, employers value those who keep track of themselves and will find punctuality to be a highly appreciated trait. Create a habit of being on time. This means if you’re waking up too late, try sleeping earlier. If you’re suddenly delayed by an obstacle, try your best to anticipate it. You’ll want to avoid being late to anything because it’ll show how irresponsible you can be.
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    Don't get emotional. Part of being professional is being able to separate your personal matters apart from your work life. This involves being able to remain calm and level-headed through obstacles and challenges that arise. There are good and bad emotions that arise in a professional workplace. Some good emotions include happiness, gratitude, interest, and pride while some bad emotions you’ll want to avoid are sadness, frustration, nervousness, and stubbornness.
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    Be a team player. People rarely work alone nowadays. People have worked together since the beginning of time in order to get what they want. Nothing has changed about that and you’ll need other people to get what you want. The same can be said vice versa. Give and you shall receive. There is no such thing as an independent person so help those around you and they’ll help you.


  • Be confident but not overconfident. This means that you should carry yourself well but don't get cocky.
  • Keep your word when you make plans, commitments, or promises. People will always look up to you if you're reliable.
  • You'll feel rigid and stiff if you're not experienced with professionalism. Keep practicing and aim to look more natural.
  • Be yourself. Your goal shouldn't solely be just to fit in but to surpass expectations. Do what it takes to stand out.
  • Make connections and be open to your peers. A lot of professionals don't become professional on their own. It would be wise to join your technical community.


  • Avoid slang or jargon that doesn't belong in the profession. It'll easily cause you to lose respect from your peers.
  • Avoid/conceal tattoos and piercings. They don't look very professional and you don't want to be frowned upon for your personal choices.
  • Don't be so nervous. Your peers will see your nervousness as weakness and you don't want to show weakness when being professional.

Things You'll Need

  • Educational background (preferred)
  • Nice formal attire
  • A willingness to learn
  • An open mind that is quick to adapt and willing to accept challenges

Article Info

Categories: Work World