August 16, 2018

7 Tips on Being the Ultimate Professional


Recently, I’ve been hearing about candidates “ghosting” employers — that is, not showing up for interviews or first-day onboarding without notice.

Similarly, recruiters are ghosting job candidates — and have been for quite some time. In fact, some argue that candidates have only started ghosting employers because employers have been ghosting them for years.

Regardless of the trend, you need to be a steadfast professional if you want to stand out during your job search. We live in a world that often rewards lousy behavior — but a candidate like you, a consummate professional among badly behaving coworkers, bosses, and competing job seekers, is someone many companies would love to hire.

Professionalism means more than just dressing the part — although that is certainly important. But true professionalism means demonstrating your value by avoiding irresponsible behaviors.

You’re sure to stand out if you follow these seven tips:

1. Be Forthright

A professional provides direct and honest feedback in all situations. You care about favorable outcomes, and you want your projects to not just meet expectations but exceed them. You ask questions to ensure you understand the  standards and accept responsibility when you fall short of your mark.

2. Be Respectful and Tactful

Even when things are not going in your favor, you treat everyone with respect. Our biases and emotions can often impede our ability to understand and connect with others, but you remain temperate and sincere — even when others fail to reciprocate.

3. Be Unflappable

You respond appropriately — and calmly — to urgent situations and emergency requests. Some people may interpret your lack of stress as a lack of caring — so be sure to share stories that demonstrate how you make a difference by keeping your cool under duress.

4. Be Unbiased

One of the hardest things to do is to respond reasonably without bias in all situations, especially to sensitive matters with which you may not have experience. We have all learned a valuable lesson from Papa John’s founder John Schnatter. Don’t be like him.

5. Own It!

Not only is it essential for professionals to own their mistakes, but it is also vital for them to know how their mistakes affect others. People will respect you more if they know you completely understand their pain.

6. Walk the Walk

This attribute of professionalism earns you more respect than all the others. Certainly, it is expected that leaders accept the responsibility to set a good example for others, but it is everyone’s responsibility to set an example for the next person. People will understand why you demand respect by watching your actions.

7. Be Reliable

Reliability earns trust. At a minimum, employers expect your assignments completed in a timely and thorough manner. If you respect everyone’s time by always getting it done when you say you will, you’ll broaden your opportunities dramatically.

That said, it does you no good to be a professional at an unprofessional company. Working for an employer of ill repute will only damage your chances of landing your dream job. Research every company before applying or accepting a job offer — and only join those workplaces that value professionalism just as much as you do.

Mark Anthony Dyson is a career consultant, the host and producer of “The Voice of Job Seekers” podcast, and the founder of the blog by the same name.

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Mark Anthony Dyson is a career consultant, the host and producer of “The Voice of Job Seekers" podcast, and founder of the blog by the same name. Download the podcast on iTunes and many other podcatchers. We are helping the unemployed, underemployed, and underappreciated job seekers find and create a voice through this platform. Follow Mark on: @MarkADyson