This post is based on a presentation I created a few years ago. I’m creating this because of a disturbing trend in students currently completing school to get their degrees. That idea is the lack of professionalism.
1) Style. Believe it or not, this can be important. Take the time to address how you look. Find a style that works for you and use it. I’m not saying you have to fit into the boxes that we are all given. I’m not even saying you have to be traditional in your clothes. But an unfortunate fact of life is that people will judge you based on how you look, no matter how much we prefer they not. Consider the following two pictures and think about which guy you trust more in a business:
Most people, based on a glance, will say they are more likely to trust the men on the right. But there is something you should know…the man on the left is Doc Hendley, the founder of Wine to Water while the men on the right are the chairman and CEO of Enron (former, rather). Just know that people will react based on appearance.
2) Etiquette. I am bringing this one up particularly as it applies to communication. So many, often times too many, emails are sent without a second glance. This has lead to a number of disturbing notes in my own inbox from major misspellings to serious grammatical errors (and for me to notice them, you know they have to be pretty grave). Whether it be in regards to emails, phone calls, memos, blogs (that one will probably bite me in the behind) texts or some other form, take the time to become professional. Learn the lingo and history of your group or organization (this applies to interviews as well). Understand where and why you are there and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
3) Finally and most importantly, attitude. I mean this one in two ways. The first is the obvious. Make sure you have the attitude you want to work with. You are stuck with that attitude and often times an attitude can be contagious. If yours is bad, guess what will surround you.
The second one is in regards to character.
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
Stand by your values. Be a person of character. This takes far more swagger than anything else.