Professionalism Basics
What is it?

Your professional image is the set of
qualities and characteristics that represent
perceptions of your competence and
character as judged by your key
constituents (i.e., clients, managers,
professors, colleagues).
Professionalism Basics:
Respect for Others

Recognizing that other peoples time is as
valuable as yours (being on time,
cancelling appointments or meetings
ahead of time if you cannot make them)

If you have chosen to attend a class,
meeting, conference, presentation--pay
attention.
Professionalism Basics:
Respect for Others

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Follow
through is important!

If you are unable to meet a project goal or other
expectation let those involved know the new
timeline and that you are working on it. Don’t just
ignore.

Take responsibility for your behavior—successes and
failures.
Professional Communication

Every interaction you have with a potential
employer/ grad school/professional reference
counts!

What does your email address, voice mail, cell
phone ring, email content say about you?

Think about every point of contact a professor,
employer, graduate school may come into
contact with you.

You should be using a professional email (your
WSU email) and professional tone in emails with
your professors – they are your references!
Professional Dress

Invest in one good interviewing outfit if you are
applying to jobs or graduate schools.

Even if the workplace is very casual you should still
dress conservatively and professionally for the
interview.

Maintain professional body language. (Don’t slouch,
bite your nails, pick at your hair, skin and/or outfit
constantly…)
Networking Events
What’s appropriate?
Introduce Yourself!
When you recognize someone and he/she
does not recognize you.
 When attending a gathering, business or
social. (for example the career fair)
 When seated next to someone
 When the person introducing you does not
remember your name.

Professional Communication Basics

Good eye contact

Firm Handshake

Practice introducing yourself-have a “one
minute commercial” about yourself and
your goals that you tell potential
employers
One Minute Commercial

List accomplishments—paid, unpaid, work,
education, life, experiences…

List your most important skills and strengths…

What are you interested in doing? Internships,
job openings, company information…

Tie these aspects together to create a consistent
message about who you are.
When communicating
professionally do not:

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Monopolize the conversation
Say negative things about a person, company or
product
Gossip
Use profanity
Tell lots of jokes or use sarcasm – remember
these people don’t know you yet and may not
realize you are joking
Talk about controversial issues
Follow Up

#1 Tip– don’t forget to do it or avoid it!

The majority of students (and people in general)
neglect to follow up with those who they
exchange business cards with.

If you get a business card, it’s appropriate to
follow up the next day.

Career website  Online Resources  Business
Etiquette for examples
Developing your professional
networks

Talk to people you know

Complete informational
interviews


Join related student
groups and professional
organizations

Attend events made
available to you

Use your student status
while you can—provides
entry into a lot of
opportunities.
Complete an
INTERNSHIP!!

Volunteer

Job Shadow
On the Job/Internship
Establishing your professional identity
Moving Up or Out?
Collegiate Employment Research Institute Research Brief 2007, Phil Gardner,

What are the top qualities employers are
looking for? Which areas do you excel in?

What are the items that often get new
professionals in trouble.

What is going to be the most difficult
adjustment for you?
Top 6 Firing Reasons

Unethical behavior

Lack of motivation/work ethic

Inappropriate use of technology

Failure to follow instructions

Late for work and late assignment
What Leads to Promotion?

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Taking Initiative
Networking
Self-Management
Team Effectiveness
Leadership
Followership
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Perspective
Show and Tell
Organizational Savvy
Technical
Competence
Cognitive Abilities
Internships

Be sure to clarify expectations of the internship with you
supervisor.

Ask about the office culture around use of cellphones
and internet use – personal email/facebook.

Dress appropriately for the office. Don’t be too casual or
informal.

Even if the environment is casual you still need to keep
your conversation and dress at a more professional level
compared to being on campus.

Don’t overshare about your personal life!
Communication
How do I deal with problems or
communication break downs at
work/internship?
Communication

If you are upset by an interaction at work,
give yourself some time to calm down and
think before taking action.

On the other hand don’t let something
build up for months and then have a melt
down!

Don’t gossip about your annoyance or
problem with other co-workers. This will
only increase the problem.
Approaching

Always best to start communicating directly with
the person you are having a problem with. Don’t
go above his/her head first.

When you are calm and have something
prepared to say approach co-worker in private.

Keep in mind the person could have no idea you
are frustrated. Approach with the benefit of the
doubt if possible.

Have concrete examples of the problem.
Communication

If a problem continues then approach a
supervisor or suggest you both present
the issue to supervisor.

Remember to be professional—not
personal. Conflict resolution in the
workplace is different than among family
and friends.
A few helpful resources
www.vancouver.wsu.edu/career
 WSU Vancouver Career home page—lots of career
information such as a local employer directory, career
and major exploration resources, job searching
resources, resume and cover letter examples and more!
http://www.secstate.wa.gov/library/wa_organizations.aspx

A comprehensive listing of professional organizations
and associations in the state of Washington
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Ask a Manager blog www.askamanager.org
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Professionalism Basics - Office of Student Affairs