What It Means to Be Professional

A professional approach to your job can take you far

What makes a good employee? Is it your job skills? Your experience? Or is it your attitude toward the job? The answer is a combination of all of these. Employers want employees with great job skills and a professional attitude toward the job. Even if your technical skills are top-notch, you will still need to have a level of professionalism in order to be a valued employee.

How do you act professional? Being professional requires a set of “soft skills” such as reliability, work ethic, adaptability, and good communication skills. If you think you could use a boost in your professionalism, try these suggestions.

Show respect
A workplace will not function very well if people don’t respect one another. Being professional means treating everyone respectfully even if you don’t see eye-to-eye. Respect should extend to everyone you interact with, from the higher ups to those who work below you, and especially to all clients or customers.

Focus on benefitting your employer
Your employer hired you and your fellow co-workers to take on responsibilities that will ultimately benefit the employer’s goals and mission. Keeping your eye on these targets will help you be a more professional employee. Be sure that you take a personal interest in the quality of your work and the contribution it makes to the company.

Improve your communication skills
The most knowledgeable and skilled employee is not all that successful if he or she cannot communicate clearly. Good communication skills are the key to efficient processes and successful outcomes. Try these tips for getting better at communicating.

Be proactive
Being proactive means planning ahead, anticipating what is needed, and preventing problems before they occur. Some tips for being more proactive include (1) arriving at work a little early each day to plan the day’s priorities, (2) getting a head start on big projects and spreading the work out, rather than cramming at the end, (3) being willing to help out other members of your department when needs arise, and (4) working with others to make improvements and develop solutions for persistent problems.

Dress appropriately
Dress codes for most jobs aren’t as strict as they used to be, but it’s still important to dress for success. You want to look put-together and respectable, whether you’re wearing scrubs, jeans, or business casual.

Don’t complain
No job is perfect, and you are bound to have some complaints about your job. Do your best to keep these to yourself and remember that everyone is in the same boat. Rather than complain, is there something you can do to change things for the better? A problem-solver is more productive than someone who simply complains but doesn’t try to fix the problem.

Don’t stop learning
No matter what your job field, there is always more you can learn about it. Try to keep up your curiosity and your learning by enrolling in courses, studying on your own, and taking advantage of any professional development your employer may offer.

These tips will help you develop a positive reputation in your career field and to be treated like the professional you are. Best of luck to you!


For more information on getting started in a new professional career path in the field of healthcare, contact us at the American College for Medical Careers.