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Tips for Professionalism in the Workplace

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How you represent yourself and perform your job defines your level of professionalism in the workplace. In 2013, 48.6 percent of human resource professionals and workplace managers believed that more than 50 percent of new employees lack professionalism their first year on the job, according to a nationwide survey by the Center for Professional Excellence at York College of Pennsylvania. Improving your professionalism can give you the edge that lands you your next job or promotion.

Clarity Is King

Developing your communication skills improves your professionalism. Employers are sticklers for strong spelling and grammar skills. Editing emails before sending and thoroughly proofreading your LinkedIn profile and other correspondence shows your boss that you pay attention to detail and improves your business writing overall. The way you manage your conversations also counts. Every conversation is an opportunity to improve your articulation, assertiveness and listening skills. In writing and speaking, honesty is also a quality of professionalism, according to the Center for Professional Excellence’s survey.

Of Time and Space

Staying on top of your clutter and your clock demonstrates professionalism. When all the moving parts within an organization are working together, the organization can compete and reach goals more effectively. Being late to meetings, missing deadlines, forgetting important dates or not completing tasks throws a wrench in your organization’s gears. Constantly improving your time management keeps projects flowing and reflects well on you as a professional. Keeping your work area clean and organized also shows that you have your work under control, and can improve customers’ experience with your business.

In Your Presence

Being pleasant to the senses helps exhibit your professionalism in the workplace. Dressing and keeping an appearance in a way that says you take pride in your job and your workplace is a classic tip for improving professionalism. Paying attention to the details of office etiquette is also important. For example, minimizing personal phone calls and keeping your cell phone ringtone on vibrate shows respect and professionalism, writes Business Insider contributor Mariana Simoes, in her March 2013 article entitled “17 Essential Office Etiquette Tips.” Respecting your colleagues’ time and space reflects professional social skills.

The Mastered Self

Taking care of your physical, mental and emotional health improves your professionalism. Bringing your most optimistic, solution-focused attitude to the job every day is a mark of professionalism that can inspire others you work with and improve workplace relations in general. Only coming to work when you’re physically healthy and capable reflects your commitment to your own health as well as to productivity, safety and wellness in the workplace. Additionally, always elevating and fine-tuning your manners, temper, humility and empathy shows an emotional maturity and self-awareness that many human resource professionals and workplace managers identify with professionalism.


A writer since 1995, Christian Fisher is an author specializing in personal empowerment and professional success. From 2000 to 2005, he wrote true stories of human triumph for "Woman's World" magazine. Since 2004, he has also helped launch businesses including a music licensing company and a music school.

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