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What Does It Really Mean to Be Professional? Professionalism is the key to making an impression in an interview. It’s also the key to success in working with clients. Not only that, but it’s the only way to correspond with coworkers. Without a “professional” attitude, you probably won’t see very much success in your career life. It’s a dressing standard, a type of speech, and even a way to respond to an email. It’s the two word answer to everything: “be professional.” Yet no one is quite clear what it means to be professional. The following are a two key points to help you understand what it really means to be professional.

Code of Conduct Think of it as a kind of code of conduct training to help you master the art before you’re put in a professional atmosphere. Start with understanding that professionalism is the ultimate “mother bear.” In the story “Goldilocks,” it’s always what the mom likes that Goldilocks likes. The mother bear in this story is the ultimate middle ground. Her bed is neither too hard nor too soft. Her porridge is neither too hot nor too cold. It’s the same with the way you handle yourself as a professional. You’re never too funny and you’re never too serious. You’re not easily roused and yet you don’t take everything someone throws at you. The only thing you are extreme on is moderation.

Dress Moderation even leaks into the way you dress. You wear formal wear that is conservative and yet sharp. Often a simple suit or blouse/skirt combo that is neatly pressed and carefully presented is best. Even business casual can be classy if you moderate correctly between not too casual and not to formal. To master the art of moderation, think of what’s expected and be the epitome of those expectations. If it’s a black tie affair then you’d better be wearing a black tie and everything that fits the standard. Don’t be too extreme in either direction. Do what’s expected and you’ll be fine.


Another huge principle to remember for this code of conduct training is that a professional is respectful. There are a number of ways to show respect in a work situation.

Attention to Detail First, he pays attention to detail. He’s engaged in the conversation and takes notes of the things he needs to remember. He doesn’t take calls or allow interruptions. His attention is focused on the person and conversation at hand. You shouldn’t have to ask for something to be repeated unless you truly didn’t understand. Merely daydreaming is rude.

Integrity and Honesty Second, she is a beacon of integrity and honesty. A professional says she’ll do something, and then she follows through with her promise.

Respect Opinions Third, respect another’s opinion. Your opinion isn’t the only one that matters. Instead of trying to find flaws in another’s reasoning, try to see where they’re coming from—even in situations when you know your answer is right. Only by understanding their side can you respectfully continue in conversation with them until a solution is come upon. So through finding the middle ground in everything and showing respect, you’re set up to be a professional through and through. As you begin to apply these principles, your code of conduct training will begin to show you as a professional. Photo Credit: Uthmag, Lorireed


What Does It Really Mean to Be Professional