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4 essential traits an employer looks for in a professional



Your work ethic and personal traits in the workplace directly affect your performance and those around you. Remaining professional at all times is essential if you want to succeed in a career, but how does one go about that?

To help you understand what an employer looks for in an employee and how to be classed as a ‘professional’ at what you do, here are 4 essential traits…

Effective working habits

Depending on the role, this could describe lots of different working habits. But the most common ones come down to punctuality, organisation, time management, team working abilities, and a high level of competence.

Someone who excels at their job is someone that can be trusted and relied upon to deliver the goods. To be classed as a professional this would be a mandatory requirement. Every single aspect of the job is approached with the same positive and hard working attitude, with a goal to succeed at every turn.

“Taking a professional approach to every task and striving to be as productive as possible, helpful, work well as a team, and align with the company’s goals would certainly come under the definition of ‘professionalism’.

~ Martin Carline, CV Template Master

Here is a more detailed list of Effective Working Habits.

Professional behaviour and integrity

The way in which an employee conducts themselves should be professional at all times. We all understand how easy it is to be dragged into banter at work, and sharing a few jokes now and again is often needed to keep ones sanity during difficult times. But knowing the boundaries between acceptable banter and inappropriate behaviour is vital.

A professional individual would always know how to walk that line and keep every conversation and action appropriate and in keeping within the company’s culture. Acting as a role model for the business, the way in which you conduct yourself at work should always demonstrate professional behaviour and an example of integrity.

Click here to see examples of integrity in the workplace.

Work image/presentation

Presentation is everything when it comes to upholding a professional image. From the clothes you wear, to the perfume or after shave you use, to the shoes you wear; everything should represent the company and yourself in a professional manner.

The way in which you present yourself doesn’t just come down to the clothes you wear, it also covers how you speak to others and engage with both customers and co-workers. Your overall image, both physical and conversational will ooze professionalism and always consider the company’s interests and goals at every step.

Click here to find out why it’s important to dress appropriately for work.

Mistakes are a learning curve

Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s how those mistakes are dealt with that’s the key to success and professionalism. If you’re someone who gets angry and frustrated at making a mistake or even someone else’s, you are likely to project a negative and pessimistic image.

Do you often find yourself looking to blame something or someone else for your mistake? This is not the approach a professional would take, and should be addressed quickly if you want to progress further in your career.

A mistake should always be seen as something to learn from and progress. Dwelling too much on a mistake will hinder that progression, and accepting that mistakes will always be made at some point by yourself and those around you is a great place to start.

“When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should ever do about it: admit it, learn from it, and don’t repeat it.”

Paul Bear Bryant

One of the main differences between a professional and the average worker when it comes to mistakes is taking responsibility. Personal accountability for a mistake is the first step to solving it and moving on, whilst acquiring new knowledge to prevent it from happening again. If you can’t take responsibility and own up to a mistake, you will never understand how to learn from it.

Owning up to a mistake also shows a great level of honesty and integrity, and allows others around you to see that you’re human. Being a professional is not about pretending to know everything and professing to be perfect at the job; it’s instead about showing everyone else that flaws and mistakes are a part of work and life. Admit them, learn from them, and move one – oh, and don’t forget to not make them again if you can help it!

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