Appearance and attributes of a professional

A professional should be neat in appearance. But, neatness is relative to the expectation of the job and the skills needed. Someone who works physically out doors and gets dirty could not be expected to dress like someone who works in an establishment that requires uniforms, versus someone who works executively and can wear what they choose. I want to be sure to meet or even exceed the requirements of my company’s dress code, and pay special attention to my appearance when meeting with prospects or clients. Professionalism in my appearance means I am in tune with what’s appropriate for the type of work I do without losing myself.
Demeanor
My demeanor should exude confidence, not cockiness. It’s all about how I carry myself and having the ability to translate that I can balance how I treat and respect myself to others in a way that shows them how they can expect to be treated by me. I guess it’s that basic idea of “Do unto others as you would want to be done unto you”. During tense situations I do my best to keep calm and I strive to always be polite and well-spoken regardless of who I interact with.
I have always made it a point to dress appropriately for interviews and jobs because I take pride in my appearance but, despite how well dressed I may be, it’s much more difficult to keep my demeanor “well dressed” when I’ve had to deal with difficult people. At a point in my work day I encountered a customer who wanted to return merchandise that, according to the store’s policy, had to be returned with the authorization of a manager. As politely as I could, I explained to the already aggravated customer that I was unable to help him at that moment and that he would have to return at another time due to the fact that a manager was not, at that moment, on duty. The customer of course, was furious with me. He was very curt, rude and demeaning. By this time I know my attitude and frustration showed when I also became very short with him. The consequence was that he called my store and complained about me to my manager stating that I was being unprofessional and unwilling to help him. This was not the case, but his perception was his reality. It was still my responsibility to keep calm!

The second area is that of the mental characteristics of professionalism. This area speaks of a person’s intellectual quotient or IQ; the ability to perform, to communicate, and to conduct themselves in the work place or in a social setting. Skills must be acquired through both education and experience.
Competence
A professional strives to become an expert in their field, which sets them apart from the rest of the pack. I want to show and prove that I have the ability to something successfully and efficiently! This is achieved by continuing your education by taking courses, attending seminars and attaining any related professional designations.
Communication: Phone Etiquette
Speech is the very first form of communication that we learn as unborn children and develop over our lifetime. My phone etiquette is a very important component of professional behavior. This means I must identify myself by my full name, company and title when I place a call. I must also be sure not to dominate the conversation and listen intently to the other party.
Communication: Written Correspondence
Written correspondence ties into the mental skill sets because the first thing we learn to do as school children is to write our names, the alphabet, and numbers. They say words are powerful, so I must be able to write clearly and concisely in order to “Say what I mean and mean what I say.” During written or electronic correspondence, keep your letters brief and to the point. Your tone should be polite and formal without being “stuffy.”
Organizational Skills
A professional should quickly and easily be able to find what is needed. I need my work area to be neat and organized, The organizational skill set is sought after and not always easily attained. But, that small attention to detail can ease stress and turn a good moment into a great experience for everyone!
My mother was educated and an educator. So naturally, since I was a child, she instilled in me the desire to seek after higher leaning. Even though I was not always as focused as I could have been, I had the cognizance to know that the long term payoff of having an education was priceless and especially important for minorities like me. So, perseverance was a must. The pressure and competition for jobs and opportunity were and are statistically harder on people of color due to the blatant lack of education and overall lack of respect for us as people. I know we are not completely devoid of responsibility as we must each daily choose what we will do in and with our lives, but I do recognize there is a struggle.

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