Importance of professionalism for entry level practitioners

Whatever the organisation, you have to make sure you look the part and fit in. That does not just mean that you come into work in a fancy three piece suit and that’s it. In an industry which concerns itself with image and reputation, you need to make sure you are aware of how you come across.

Your appearance: Dress appropriately to reflect the image you want to project. You are your own brand. So you need to be presentable and echo values of being professional.

Don’t leave things to the last minute: Organise yourself and manage your time wisely in order to prioritise your deadlines. Being able to do this will result in other people being confident in your abilities and seeing you as a reliable individual.

Everything you do communicates something: Look engaged and interested when others are talking. Standing up and presenting is a daunting experience for anyone so to have a disinterested audience can be off putting for the speaker and discourteous.

Know your audience. When articulating your point, think about the delivery, tone and context of the situation. Who are you talking to? Is it a Senior Manager or a fellow colleague? Having said this, make sure you proofread and pay close attention to detail with any outgoing communication literature as it will reflect how others view you and the company you represent.

We are not perfect: As part of your professional development it is expected that you will make an error in judgement or are not always clear on the task at hand. Don’t worry as there is always someone available to help, so make sure you ask.  With this in mind, be reflective on your abilities and be conscious in areas where you feel you need to improve. In my case, I realised that I am a bit of a ‘control freak’ and so try and do everything. However, I have learnt to take a step back because I have recognized that when working in a team it can be damaging to the morale of the whole group.

Be reflective: Be prepared to take constructive criticism on board. Its ok, people are not telling you off because they can. They are giving you pointers to give you a chance to improve and learn. It’s part of your learning experience and overall professional development.

Go above and beyond: Always go above what is required for a campaign, project or task as it will show your enthusiasm, passion and drive for your company, clients and industry. Be flexible and versatile to show you can adapt to different situations and are resourceful when issues arise to move forward.

Do not underestimate how being professional can help you work up the organisational ladder and get noticed in a positive way.

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