Ways to Project Professionalism

Professional Dreamers (album)
Professional Dreamers (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you are “just” an administrative assistant, why do you need to act professional?
First, you should never think of your job as “just” anything. No matter what your role in the company is, you should be proud of it and realize that all jobs are important. You are an expert in your field – not “just” a secretary!
Second, when you act like a professional you will get the tasks that require a professional. You will have more challenging tasks to work on, your job will be more interesting, and there will be less repetitiveness. Jobs like these require a certain level of professionalism, and managers will never appoint someone to a challenging task that thinks of themselves as “just” anything.
So, what do you need to do to project professionalism?
  • Appearance.  Yes, appearance does matter. That doesn’t mean that you need to be a beauty queen or a model. Most people are neither of those things. But you can take pride in your appearance.  Make sure that your clothes fit you properly (no baggy pants, avoid tight fitting clothes) and make sure that they are properly maintained. Think about what first comes to your mind when you see a man that is dressed in a business suit that is two sizes too big and wrinkled and smells like it needs a good dry cleaning. Do you think of him as being professional? No. So, take the time to put together a wardrobe of clothing that fits you well and is dry cleaned regularly. That goes for shoes as well!  Of course, you can’t have them dry cleaned but make sure they are polished and have no scuffs.
  • Be a person of action. Some people like to talk about things until everything has been said at least twice and then still want to summarize it one more time. Stop talking so much and get down to action. Think of the possibilities, make a plan, and then put it into action. This is not to say that it is ok to put a plan into action that has not been fully thought out.  But once you have a plan and you are reasonably certain it will work, put it into action. Do exactly what you say you are going to do. Keep your promises and follow up on them. A plan is useless if you put it into action and don't follow up to see if it is reaching your desired results!
  • Be accountable. When you make a mistake, don't try to come up with half a dozen excuses for your actions. Take responsibility for them. Remember though that it is not enough to just admit to your mistakes. Being accountable means that you must find a way to avoid letting them happen again.  Did you miss a deadline? Then perhaps you need to take a course on organization or time management. Find out why the mistake was made, and then show accountability by finding a way to make sure it doesn't happen again.