by exprosearch Admin December 01, 2015 3 min read
Professionalism matters in your career. It affects your ability to get hired or promoted, and impacts whether or not people respect your opinions.
Webster’s Dictionary defines professionalism as “”the skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well.” Some standards for professionalism vary from position to position, based on factors such as whether the position is public-facing; if it supervises others; and the employer’s culture. Other standards are consistent from employer to employer, such as integrity, respect, and obeying the rules. Someone is deemed either professional or unprofessional based on how they perform compared to a set of standards and expectations.
Whatever the standards or expectations of the job and employer, be characterized as someone who aims high, not low. One of my former bosses put it this way: “It is better to shoot for the moon and land on the barn roof, than to shoot for the barn roof and land in pig manure.” Aiming high allows you a great deal of grace during times when you stumble. Aiming at the minimum leaves no room when you fall short, and stamps you as a minimum effort kind of person.
Remember that these are compared to the prevailing set of standards and expectations for the job and employer, and to always aim higher than the standard.
Both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg recently published articles on employee and applicant lack of professionalism as a top reason for not hiring or promoting an otherwise qualified candidate. What characteristics did they cite as being unprofessional and unacceptable?
The good news is that all of these aspects of professionalism are under your direct control.
This article is excerpted from the 6th edition of the author’s Job Search Readiness Assessment Development Guide, which explains more than 2,500 job and career search best practices.
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