Defining Professionalism: Step One
One of the questions that we ask peer adviser candidates when they apply to become a peer adviser for the School of Business and Economics is, “How would you describe professionalism in your own words?”
Professionalism is defined by Merriam-Webster as the skill, good judgment and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well.
The hardest part–in my mind–about defining professionalism is that a person’s personality plays a big part in the way an individual defines it; therefore it is slightly different to every single person.
My goal today is to try to bring it all together and give you a few ideas you can use to become a better professional.
At some point in your life you will be making a leap into the real world of work. A lot of you already have had a job or multiple jobs by now so you know what I’m talking about. This first step in professionalism is what I like to call defining your image or developing your brand.
I work closely with marketing team in Texas that all they do is branding for companies, and Eva Donohoo, our assistant to the dean for communication in the College of Professional Studies, is a marketing whiz, too. It is the same for you! Professionalism 101, step 1 is develop your brand.
The first thing that you need is a method of contact, or multiple. Save your Snapchat user name for your friends. Sorry, but Ifreakinlovepokemon@gmail.com isn’t going to cut it either. Hop onto Gmail or Yahoo and set yourself up with an email address that is simple yet elegant.
**Remember to always try to view yourself from the perspective of an employer.**
Example contact info:
Now that you have a way for people to get a hold of you, you need to start advertising. Get some business cards! You can do this on your own or go to a printing website and order up some cards. You can also take a 8.5×11 sheet of nicer, thicker paper stock to your local printing shop and they can cut your business cards if you print them yourself. Bottom line is that you should have some personal business cards that you can handout in case you meet someone that you want to talk further with. It is a great way to leave a little something behind that not very many people utilize.
You can get really creative with this. I’ve seen people create their own logo. I’ve seen people make video introductions of themselves. There are a lot of unique ways you can use your unique personality to get your message across.
Now that you have your business cards and contact info make sure that you set up your email properly on your phone and computer. Once people start to contact you, it is very important to make sure to respond to them in a timely fashion.
Ending story about business cards. The second time I met a lady through the Portage County Business Council, she ended up giving me a business card. It was her daughter’s. She was single. Long story short, her daughter and I just recently got married.
You never ever know the power of a relationship until you can look back and see what good has come from it.
You ought to be prepared yourself!
– Max T –