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Maintaining Professionalism

NOTE: This workplace skills page will be replaced by the new Illinois workNet Skills Wheel on October 3, 2011. This is located in the prepare section of Illinois workNet.

Punctuality is starting work on time

Workplace cultureA unique blend of workplace values that are reflected
in the firm's policies and actions.
Glossary - Link opens in a new window
is different from place to place. Different departments in the same company may expect different things.

Watch and listen to those around you to see how you fit in. Learn how to act in different situations at work. Learn how you should dress properly for your job. Find out when it is the right time to visit with co-workers. Learn work expectations.

Other tips for maintaining professionalism include:

Be on time. Start to work when you are scheduled to start working. It is not the time you should show up for work. Punctuality is very important to employers. If you know that you will be delayed in getting to work, then leave home early. It is better to arrive early to work than show up late. Things that might make your travel time longer include: heavy traffic; a train; construction; or anything similar. If you do not have your own transportation (example: your car is in the shop or you do not have a license), it is important to become familiar with public transportation. Remember, it is always better to be early than to be late. Learn about public transportation on the Illinois Department of Transportation External link opens in a new window (IDOT) website.

Maintain good attendance. When you are scheduled to be at work everyone else is relying on you to be there. Calling in frequently not only hurts your employer and fellow employees but reflects badly on you. You will be considered unreliable. Your employer could stop scheduling you or even let you go.

Participate in employment orientation and training. Take advantage of training opportunities. I will allow you to master more skills in your workplace. It will also help you to network with coworkers and supervisors. Click here to learn more about Professional Networking.

Understand the business’ image, products, and/or services.

Treat people with respect. Act properly.
Do not tell rude or embarrassing jokes. Avoid gossiping, using slang, or harmful language. Click here External link opens in a new windowto learn how to avoid being involved with gossip.

Respect privacy policies. Privacy policies are made to protect individuals. In some cases it may be required by law. Breaking a privacy policy may result in losing a job. If you do not understand the privacy policy, be sure to clarify it with a supervisor or the boss.

Participate in meetings with a positive and helpful attitude

Attitude is defined as a mental disposition with regard
to a fact or state (a helpful attitude) or a feeling
or emotion toward a fact or state.

Glossary - Link opens in a new window . Sit up straight and listen. Maintain a comfortable level of eye contact. Take notes, and ask questions when the time is right. Speaking up in a meeting may be hard if another co-worker takes control of the speaking or if you are unprepared. Click here External link opens in a new windowto gain some tips on how to participate in meetings.

Learn work-related vocabulary.

Dress properly. Maintain good personal hygiene for the job.
Most businesses have a business casual dress code. This helps employees be comfortable and at the same time have a good professional image. Clothes you would wear to the beach or to work out in may be casual. However, those clothes are not professional and do not belong at work. It is never appropriatesuitable or fitting for a particular purpose, person,
occasion, etc.
Glossary - Link opens in a new window
to be revealing. You should not show your back, stomach, cleavage, or undergarments. Clothes should be wrinkle free, clean, and not torn. T-shirts with messages are not acceptable, as they are unprofessional and may offend co-workers. Click here External link opens in a new windowfor more specific guidelines on what is appropriate to wear to work in different work environments.

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