Akhtaboot presents to you 5 keys to being a true professional.

We hear the words professionalism and business professionals every so often in our daily working lives. But only few people understand what really constitutes a true professional. To the surprise of many, it might actually be more than putting on a neat suit and managing an agenda. It actually takes people a lot of effort and work to gain the privilege of this title.

Almost all true professionals have an aura that sets them apart from the norm and gives them a killer edge over their peers within the same field. The good news for those who are just about to start their careers is that professionalism is the outcome of your attitude accompanied with your prolonged practical experience. This is a clear indication that the “born not made” myth is finally surrendering to a more rational approach. Those who were not lucky to inherent the qualities of a true professional in their DNA, can work on their on-the-job skills to start their journey towards being true professionals.

Maintain a Professional Appearance

Business professionals always take care of their appearance when it comes to dress code and grooming. They fully understand the impact their dress code has on the level of credibility and integrity perceived by clients and coworkers. Professional appearance will not only help you gain the confidence and the ability to influence others positively but will also put you in the right state of mind. The reason is that your appearance and the way you feel about yourself go hand in hand as the way you dress reflects your identity. If you don’t take the time to maintain a professional appearance at all times, you will be presenting the image of not being able to perform adequately on the job.

Be your Own Boss

Professionals take their work seriously, they have an ongoing need to learn and improve. They always go the extra mile to deliver a really world-class job even with minimal or no supervision at all. One of the essential traits of a professional is the ability to work un-bossed. This is a common challenge for many of us. A professional is always self-motivated and self-driven without the need for someone breathing over his neck for consistent improvement. This doesn’t mean that you should ignore your boss and work solo; a true professional always shows respect to those in authority and welcomes accountability.

Sustain a Positive Attitude and Work Relationships

Professionals always maintain a positive attitude at work. They always perceive problems and challenges as opportunities rather than a burden to be swept under the carpet. They tend to approach problems confidently and optimistically and they never let indecisiveness or fear of failure get in the way of their career development and personal growth. They do the best they can with what they have and they take pride in the results. When it comes to work relationships true professionals always maintain a high level of respect for oneself and others. They treat the secretaries, receptionists, janitors and all those who make the company run with the same recognition, respect and courtesy as they would their boss.

It’s all about Integrity

The most important aspect to being a real professional is integrity. Maintaining confidentiality is integrity. Owning up to your own mistakes is integrity. Appropriately using company resources is integrity. In general, most employees prefer shortcuts when it comes to deadlines, quality of work, or taking the extra mile. The thing about being a professional is to avoid shortcuts and to keep away from any kind of corruption or deception that might affect the business integrity, goodwill or competence. As a matter of fact, the true test of professionalism comes when temptation is upon you and yet you do not stray.

Master the Art of Business Communications

A true professional is always polite, considerate and classy when communicating with clients, coworkers and people in general. As perception is reality in the business world; rudeness on the phone, in person or in social events implies lack of professionalism. Another key aspect of business communication is to answer your calls and emails properly and promptly. Nothing sends a louder message of lack of interest, disrespect and rudeness than unreturned calls or unanswered messages. A true professional perceives every caller as a business opportunity not an interruption as they could hide potential opportunities. You never know when you might meet that caller who might be a great business prospect or even a future employer.

While job knowledge and target achievement are essential aspect of an over-achiever at work, being a professional is all about choices. Choosing to spend your time gossiping with coworkers, chatting online with friends or calling your parents on you company cell phone will set your business image for years to come among your coworkers, boss and clients. Keep in mind that being a true professional is both an attitude and a way of life.