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Professionalism 101

What does it mean to be "professional?"

LeeAnne Sipe

on 3 April 2018

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Transcript of Professionalism 101

Professionalism 101
(What does that even mean?)
LeeAnne Sipe
Director, Student Involvement
& Leadership
Which group of people is more professional?
Trick question!
Being "professional" entails a lot more than just looking the part!
able, ace, acknowledged, adept, competent, crackerjack, efficient, experienced, expert, finished, knowing one's stuff, known, learned, licensed, on the ball, polished, practiced, proficient, qualified, sharp, skillful, slick, there, up to speed, well-qualified
(Thanks, Thesaurus.com, for this great list of synonyms: http://thesaurus.com/browse/professional?s=t)
What does a "professional" look like?
Does she always wear a suit to work?
Does he have tattoos?
But, in general...
When people talk about "professional dress" they are talking about suits and ties and sensible shoes.
When dressing professionally:
DO be clean.
DON'T be wrinkly.
DO dress comfortably.
DON'T dress offensively.
No one wants to see what your mama gave you, read your inflammatory opinion, or have a curse word blaring in her face.
But people ask me to "be professional" even when I'm sitting around in a sweatsuit! What does it all mean?!
To "be" a professional, you also have to "act" like a professional.
Reliability. Excellent attendance, punctuality, trustworthiness, follow through, commitment, initiative, following instructions, adherence to schedule, respecting confidentiality.
Cooperation. Effective teamwork, understanding one's roles and responsibilities as a team member.
Attentiveness. Mindfulness of safety, quality, and productivity.
Honesty. Truthfulness in all situations.
Respect for others. Courtesy, attentive listening, appropriate language, appreciation for diversity.
Ambition. Hard working, self-disciplined, self-motivated.
Willingness to serve.
(From the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse website, September 2002.)
The National Service Learning Clearing House has 10 basic principles of professionalism:
The National Service Learning Clearing House has 10 basic principles of professionalism:
So, what?
How do you communicate???
Whether you're tweeting, sending smoke signals, or leading a meeting, how (and what) you communicate is important.
DO be timely.
DON'T be offensive.
DO be aware of who is hearing/reading what you're communicating.
My suggestion: Don't communicate anything you don't want this adorable little lady to hear.
Do you think she wants to hear you curse? Or whine? Or disrespect people?
Or talk back?
We can tell you from personal experience that she does not.

And if she could figure out Twitter or access Facebook, she wouldn't want to read it, either.
Now let's put this into
You're attending a student org meeting.
How do you:

You're attending a meeting and the University president is there.
How do you:
You're going to a job interview on-campus.
How do you:
What other
do you find yourself in as a student leader?
does not mean that you can't be yourself.
does mean that you are aware of you how you

and make sure that it's appropriate for the place.
look, act, & communicate
In conclusion:
Don't dress like a trash panda (but don't necessarily dress like a lawyer, either).
Don't act or speak in a way that is rude, impolite, or offensive.
Remember that "professionalism" depends on context.
(...and if that's too hard to remember, just remember mama.)
(She loves me. I promise.)
(That's LeeAnne's mama.)
Questions? Contact me.
LeeAnne Sipe
Director, Student Involvement & Leadership

ext 6349
University Center 222
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