The Last Thing I Want to Read is What NOT to Do, So Give Me Some Advice on What TO Do!

By Lisa Kollar

I was recently having a discussion among some staff members and student assistants on professionalism.  I was stating that if I was ever compelled to write a book it would definitely be on the topic; in fact, I would title the book, “Where Has All the Professionalism Gone?”. Our conversation followed our largest recruiting event, the Industry/Career Expo, which always provides a plethora of examples of what not to do.  One may wonder if there’s really enough to discuss, but I am here to reassure you that there’s definitely enough.  In fact, I believe there’s a negative trend towards dismissing professionalism, and it’s not just with the younger generations!

In order to fully get the picture, let’s start off by defining professionalism according to Webster’s Dictionary. “Professionalism is the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person. ”  It’s a very clear and easy definition, so I don’t think that anyone is confused about what it is.  What I do believe is that many people just choose not to place importance on being professional, feeling that they are owed respect instead of having to earn it.  Don’t get me wrong; there are plenty of professionals in the world.  I could ask everyone to name people in their lives that exemplify “professionalism” and most people could name numerous individuals that walk the talk.  So, why don’t we all look around, make note of those individuals and ask ourselves if we can live up to their standards.  After years of managing, conducting interviews, career advising, teaching, and spending a large amount of my time communicating with others, here are just a few of those highly desired traits that clearly make you stand out above the rest.  If any of these qualities are in question for you, ask someone you trust, like your career advisor, to be honest with you and give you feedback.

  1. Personable:  Look at the good things in life and put a smile on your face.  It’s a lot easier to be friendly than not, and it makes you approachable
  2. Respect:  First, respect yourself and then allow yourself to respect others, even if they are different
  3. Communication: Strive to be a great communicator both verbally and non-verbally.  Take the time to say please and thank you.  Avoid using slang and text-like language.  Proofread all communications
  4. Work Ethic: Put 110% into your academic and professional life
  5. Reliability: Be the one that others can count on
  6. Competency: Professionals know how to do their jobs effectively and are always willing to learn more
  7. Demeanor: Believe in yourself, and the confidence will show
  8. Organization: The more organized you are, the more successfully  you will execute
  9. Appearance: Take pride in the way you look; be seen the way you want others to see you
  10. Resourcefulness: Know when to share your knowledge and where to find information that you may not know

Lisa Scott Kollar is the Executive Director, Career Services. She completed B.S. and M.S.A. degrees from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and has her C-MEL-I. Lisa has over eighteen years of management experience with fourteen years of experience in higher education leadership roles.  She is consistently successful in strategic planning and marketing for Embry-Riddle’s comprehensive Career Services.

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