In every job that you will take, it will always be important to know how to be a professional. But when you are a fresh graduate out of university, you may ask yourself, “how does one act professionally?” or even when you are already a person with a job, you can still ask yourself, “how do I grow more professionally?” Don’t worry though, for here are ten effective ways to achieve professional growth:
1. Set yourself a schedule.
When setting yourself a schedule, you are also learning how to manage your time properly. A professional knows how to divide his or her time to make it as productive as possible. So make sure that you get enough rest, have a healthy amount of working hours, and have time for your friends and family.
It’s always easy to set a schedule though, the difficult part is to follow it religiously. This is the part where a certain amount of discipline is needed. If you can follow your schedule, then you are one more step to becoming a professional!
2. Always be on time.
In order to grow professionally, one must always be on time. It is completely rude to keep others waiting. Always remember your appointments with other people, whether it is a meeting or a lunch date, make sure to mark it in your calendars, especially if you are forgetful.
Tardiness is not a trait people look forward to in their workers. Being punctual will not only help you in your professional growth but also in your overall aspect as a person.
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3. Accept constructive criticism.
It is important to know how to handle criticism healthily. Always accept constructive criticism, it is there to help you build yourself up. As a professional, it is normal to receive such comments, especially from senior workers. Accept their comments and look at it as a way to improve yourself.
On the other hand, turn a deaf ear to comments that do nothing but bring you down. You don’t need those words in your life. Only accept things that will further enhance you as a person.
4. Learn new skills.
You never stop learning especially when you are working. If you have enough time on your hands, look for new skills you can learn that may help you in your work. It can be a simple computer skill or how to handle documents more efficiently.
Learning new skills will definitely boost your performance and help you grow professionally. But if you think are perfectly adequate for the job, then you can always add these things to your resume.
5. Dedicate time for self-improvement.
The best way to handle criticism is to channel it out to self-improvement. Don’t take their comments too hard, it is not a personal attack rather an opportunity for professional development. Absorb their comments and look for flaws in your areas that may need improving on.
Learning from mistakes is one of the best ways to develop yourself professionally. By doing this, you avoid making the same mistakes in the future and therefore prevent bad performance.
6. Always be polite.
Whether you are talking to one of your superiors or the guy who cleans the office, always be polite. In the working environment, politeness is very much appreciated. A professional knows how to treat everyone with the same amount of respect.
Speaking professionally means carefully choosing the words that you speak so that you will not offend anyone. Even if you don’t really like the person you’re talking to, take the time and the patience to speak with them in a respectful manner.
7. Separate work life and personal life.
This is one of the most important ways to grow as a professional. You must learn to separate your work life and personal life. Do not come to work with your personal problems. For example, if you are a teacher, do not lash it out on your students just because you had a row with your partner last night.
A professional always know when to draw the line between those two areas. He or she never brings the problems at home to the office and vice versa. Although there may be times that this can be difficult, especially when you are going through the death of a loved one, it is also important to take time off work to allow yourself a breather.
8. Be consistent in your performance.
Always have high standards for your performance and never settle for less than mediocre quality. Whether you are a theatrical performer or a person typing down documents, do your tasks passionately and with purpose.
If you pour everything you have into the tasks you do, this will clearly reflect your amazing performance. Keep this up and always be consistent. Professionals know that doing things the best way is the only way.
9. Engage actively in discussions.
Don’t be that person who only sips coffee during meetings and nods along. If your superior asks for suggestions or even thoughts about the subject, try your best to raise your hand and actively participate. This way, people will know that you are listening intently and that you care.
Engaging actively in discussions will not only help you grow as a professional, but it will also bump up your career performance. People want people with who they can collaborate and not just a person who does what’s handed to them. Be alive and let your ideas come alive too.
10. Do your best to learn fast.
When you are working in a fast-paced environment, it is important that you do your best to learn fast. People like workers who can absorb information quickly and apply them effectively. If you don’t pay attention enough and ask questions about things that were clearly oriented to you, then you might have trouble with staying on that job.
A professional knows how to take down notes, read the manual, and listen to orientation. If you encounter problems along the way, bring them up fast. Always remember that work ethic is important to being a professional.
You can’t be a professional with just a snap of a finger. Remember that this list is not an overnight solution but rather it is a guide that you can reread all the time. It takes time, discipline, and patience to achieve professional growth, and even by then you will still have a lot to learn. But that’s the fun thing, you never stop growing and you never stop learning. Every experience you have is one step to growing yourself more as a person and as a professional.
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