Professionalism & 5 tips to quickly attain it and keep it.

This is a special Sunday “Workday Lessons” post because yesterday evening, something happened to me and it had a profound impact on me…but not in a good way. Let me give you the short of it:

A very good friend of mine decided to have a big birthday bash and one of the planned activities was a private group dance class with the ladies & we all paid our money in advance and were organized and ready for a fun experience…but then the day came–we were in the WORST little hole in the wall, the class wasn’t set up, there were strange people there, it was a mess. Long story short, the event coordinator not only did not do due diligence on the venue nor the set-up, but when confronted, she refused to take blame for the mix up! And I’m just like:

Umm…have you ever heard of professionalism?!?! I guess not. Anyway, I had to write this post because as entry-level PR/Social Media pros, we need to be MORE professional than our senior peers and more discerning in our behaviour. Here are a few ways YOU can show your boss you are a true professional:

  1. Dress professionally: Okay okay, you worked ALL winter for that six pack or killer arms, I get it. But the office is NOT the place to show them off. Even if everybody is running around in basketball shorts, you should err on the side of caution and that means NO ripped jeans, flip flops, spaghetti straps or strapless tops, mini skirts (I don’t care how thick the tights are you put under it!) and nothing with offensive language on it.
  2. Speak professionally: Unless you’re Axl Rose, your job probably doesn’t entail saying any of the four-letter words; or anything else offensive. Here’s a good rule of thumb: would you say it in front of your mom/pastor/dad/granny (basically someone you respect and are more formal with)? Then don’t shout it out at work
  3. Communicate professionally. I mean specifically with e-mails or any other type of written communication. Grammar and puncuation are highly scrutinized in our field; if your boss sees that you can’t even spell check a darn inter-office memo, why on earth would he or she let you pitch to a journalist? Hint: They probably won’t. This isn’t a text message, so no: LOLz, OMG, BRB, LOHINNO (I have NO idea what that one even means) and for heaven’s sake, skip the emoticons.
  4. Take criticism professionally: I know it’s hard to take criticism, specially in such a fast-paced field such as PR where we need to hit the ground running and we are given high expectations. But, when your boss sits you down to go over why your report wasn’t up to par or that pitch wasn’t cutting it, please remember they aren’t doing it for fun, but to help you. Stay calm, take notes and learn from the experience. And thank them and say you are taking this is all in consideration and will improve. I even like to ask questions on how I can avoid making the same mistake again–I want to show them that I want to be the best I can be.
  5. Think professionally: This is the most important one; if you sense yourself on the edge of a bad decision or even think you are stepping out of bounds, think, “is this really exuding professionalism?” chances are, if you have to ask, it probably isn’t. Have a little common sense and don’t fall into the stereotype of silly, over-privileged and unprofessional millenials.

Well, those are my little five tips and you may be thinking, “Jess is just an entry-level’er too, what the HECK does she know?” The truth is, I am only new to PR, I worked for corporate America for about 3-4 years before this and had a job 3 years before moving into corporate America, so I have a pretty good idea of what’s professional and what isn’t. Hope you can get a little something out of this post, if so, please comment below and let me know! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

XOXOXO, Jess_AsPRing


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