We’ve all heard the speeches about what ‘professionalism’ means, but how seriously do we take that advice? The better question may be; do we even apply the words of wisdom? Regardless of your major or profession or career, you have to have some standards of professionalism. Even clowns have to arrive on time for their act.
However, we interact with people everyday who don’t adhere to some basic norms that should be followed by all professionals, both young and old. The truth is that people notice when you follow simple norms, and they can make a huge difference in the success of your aspirations.
As PR professionals, we are competing with thousands of other students for the same positions around the country, and even in our little bubble of Scripps, we are competing with our fellow classmates for executive positions in organizations. Focus on the basics, act on them, and see how far they can take you.
The biggest action you can take is just being present. We all know that sometimes the weather drains our mood, but pull out the rain gear and make the trek. Being present is one of the best ways to get noticed. People will begin to recognize your face.
Taking it to the next level on being present means asking questions and participating in conversation. Put away the phones and laptops and be present in the conversations and talks that are happening right in front of you. People will notice the more you participate, even if you’re just paying more attention than the person who’s on Twitter. It’s okay to not have an academy award winning comment; articulation comes with practice.
Being present includes pulling your end of the bargain when it comes to work distribution. We all know how annoying that one person is during group projects that never shows up and does maybe 5 percent of the total workload. Pull your weight and if you’re able to, ask what more there is for you to do or how else you can help. Employers will especially appreciate your willingness to take on a little extra. Being around to take on these extra responsibilities is important because you can’t volunteer if you’re hiding in the bathroom.
Be sure to be present digitally as well. When someone sends you a personal email, respond to it, even if you are only letting them know you received it. This demonstrates your willingness to communicate frequently and this way, the person doesn’t have to worry about whether or not you saw it.
Taking these small steps to make yourself more present will make heads turn your way and your name will begin circulating among students and professionals alike. When people say ‘you get out of it what you put in,’ they truly mean it. Being present will begin that process of slowly putting more in so you can reap more benefits.
Austin Ambrose is a senior majoring in Journalism with an English minor. He is also the CEO of ImPRessions. Follow him on Twitter @tex_ambrose7.