Business Career Management Corner: Professionalism in the Workplace

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Business Career Management Corner: Professionalism in the Workplace

By: Nancy Fournier | SFU BCMC: Associate Director Undergraduate Program
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Get ahead in your career.

You’ve got a job and now the hard part is over, right? Absolutely not! Don’t get too comfortable yet. Although you have mastered the art of getting a job, you now need to focus on using this work experience to excel in your career.

Email and Internet Etiquette:

Be concise with your emails and keep the formatting simple (use colour, bold, underline sparingly). Double check the addresses, use automatic spell and grammar check and still proof-read before sending. Reply to emails promptly and don’t misuse ‘reply all’. When emailing a large group, be careful not to publicize the email addresses without permission by using the “bcc” feature. Avoid abbreviations, emoticons :), jokes, sarcasm, writing in CAPITALS, mentioning any confidential info or gossip. Anything you email from your company email account is representing the company, so think twice before sending any personal emails. Never surf the internet at work for personal enjoyment. Use work time for doing work!

Dress the Part:

Dressing to impress at work shows that you are someone who values maintaining a professional image. Depending on the company and industry, a business suit may not be appropriate but it is suggested to dress a step up from those around you. Wear clothes that fit well, be well-groomed, have clean and appropriate shoes, wear minimal jewelry and make-up, and keep your clothes clean.

Keep your Workspace Professional:

Make sure that your desk is always organized by eliminating stacks of paper, and tossing out garbage. Utilize the filing cabinet that already exists or implement a file system to store and access important documents. Consider keeping pictures in your drawer of places you’ve traveled to, of pets or loved ones as they can brighten your day at the office.

Oh…Behave:

You will develop a reputation at work by how you interact with your boss and your coworkers. Make it a positive one by avoiding some common pitfalls like gossiping at the water cooler or complaining about any of the projects you are working on or any of the people you work with. Instead, be recognized for your positive attitude. Some new grads who have secured a great job adhere to the FILO philosophy “First In, Last Out” and have been rewarded for their dedication.

Look for New Challenges:

Your employer has invested a great deal of time and $$ into hiring and training you and they don’t want to lose you. If you are finding that your position is not challenging or your talents are not being utilized, take initiative to look for areas that you can contribute. Most students new to the workforce are timid and wait to be “told” what to do but most employers want them to be self-starters and look for opportunities to add value to the company.

Posted on October 01, 2012