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Want to Be Seen as Professional? 3 Important Tips

Professionalism in the workplace is a hot topic. Being a “professional” portrays various images based on your perception of its definition. So, what’s your perception? We often think of a suited-up individual with a briefcase.

Professionalism is often associated with competence and skill. However, being a skilled employee is not the same as being a professional employee. It is highly important that when you step into the office, you be intentional about anything and everything you do. Your actions should support the mission of your organization as well as your career goals. When it comes to being professional, I would argue that being intentional with your words is the most important, no matter what industry or agency you work for. Don’t let work place gossip distract you from achieving your professional purpose (the reason you’re at work in the first place). Be intentional with your words and make sure they support your professional purpose.

Some important things to keep in mind when it comes to remaining professional:

  1. Discussion vs. Gossip: Discussions with co-workers involve speaking to further an objective and work relevant information. Gossip is talk simply to gain attention and probably gives you more detail than you care to know. Participating in work-place gossip can damage your aspiration for leadership or hurt your current leadership position.
  2. Be positive: An energized individual with a positive attitude is bound to get noticed by management.
  3. Stay focused: Don’t let yourself get distracted by gossip and unprofessional behavior. Staying focused can only help your chances of success.

The workplace is not the best place to vent about your personal life. The last thing you want as an aspiring young professional is to risk yourself of falsely being judged by your boss, supervisor and co-workers. People’s personal perception of you may alter their professional perception of you. A situation, incident or weakness you are experiencing in your personal life is not always indicative of your professional abilities. Keeping this part of your life private will force your team members to judge you solely on the results you produce and the energy you bring to the workplace. Words have the power to take over the world, let them positively take over advancing your career.

Priyanka Oza is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Chaeny Emanavin

Hi. Great articles. Some of these points open the discussion of emotional intelligence. Sometimes, what’s going on in someone’s personal life is powerful and they want to discuss with friends at work. That’s when you have to be aware enough to have those discussions with the apprpriate people (friends, co-workers with a sympathetic ear) at the appropriate time (breaks, lunch), for the appropriate length (a few minutes) and at the appropriate place (private office, break area, outside).

It can be cathartic to discuss issues to get them off your chest, but you need to also be able to snap back into work mode immediately and focus on the task at hand. It’s tough to balance if you’re a younger employee new to the workforce. But it’s a skill that can be learned.