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Do You Have Enough Professionalism for a Job Promotion?

Updated on February 6, 2012

Like it or not there is a certain level of professionalism that is required to succeed in the workplace. Although it may appear that different industries have different expectations that is not actually the case. Whether you work in construction, customer service, or an office the way you conduct yourself each day needs to be polished in order to land a job promotion.

Unemployment rates are still high which allows employers to be very choosy when it comes to new hires and promotions. Even if you do your job well the way in which your present yourself on a day to day basis may still prevent your next promotion.


Handheld Devices

There are some professions where a cell phone or other handheld device is a valuable tool and necessity. Today's smart phones receive a wealth of information that keeps the busy professional on task. Whether it's an e-mail notification from the boss or a reminder alarm for the upcoming meeting, these useful devices help a person organize their day.

For those who don't hold important positions such as these don't fool yourself into thinking you're simply fitting in while you check your Facebook or Twitter account. Your boss knows the level of responsibility your job entails and will see right through your behavior. If you always have your phone in your hand typing away they're wondering how much work you're actually doing. Unnecessarily using your phone throughout the workday is a definite recipe to hold yourself back professionally.



Some of us pay closer attention to the latest fashion trend than others. However, just because you're "in style" does not mean you are professional. Of course if you work in the fashion industry that is not the case, but for the rest of us the recent fashion trend of pairing pink with red may have some co-workers wondering if you've lost your head. The largest source of communication is non-verbal. If you do not appear polished and professional it is highly unlikely the boss will allow you to make presentations or meet with new clients.

Women are more susceptible to making fashion faux pas since we tend to follow fashion more closely than men do. The media and beauty magazines also convey an often unrealistic image of beauty. Scantily clad women are found on advertisements everywhere. Cleavage and micro-mini skirts do not convey professionalism in the workplace. Even if you have the legs for the skirt save it for personal occasions.

Young men and some women are at fault when it comes to wearing pants. It's hard to believe someone could get this wrong but pants are meant to be worn over your underwear. We don't want to know if you wear boxers or briefs and we certainly don't want to see what color your thong is today. Additionally, if your pants are too opt for a tailor instead of walking of the extra material. Pants, or any clothing for that matter, that are frayed, torn, or dirty are a clear sign that you do not take your profession seriously.

Many people opt for perfume or cologne when they're getting ready for the workday. Overall it is best to leave your favorite scent at home since no one fragrance is guaranteed to be loved by all who encounter it. The last thing you want to do is wear a perfume that gives your boss a splitting headache each time you're in the same room together. Also beware of pregnant co-workers. Their sense of smell is already on overdrive and your favorite scent may send her running for the bathroom.

As we age our sense of smell diminishes which is why some older folks can fragrance an entire room by themselves. If you truly can't make it through the day without your favorite scent dab a little on each earlobe. When you turn your head you'll get a whiff but it can still be undetected by your co-workers.


Office Chatter

Many people can name at least one person they work with that loves to spread gossip. No matter how juicy the story sounds do not partake in this circus. Realize that gossip is simply that. It often has no credibility and is rarely based upon facts. There is an Irish saying: Who gossips with you will gossip of you which is absolutely true. Office gossip is a circle you want to avoid altogether since it creates animosity and hard feelings among co-workers when the subject of the gossip finds out. Since people rarely gossip about good things this behavior hurts more than it uplifts a team. People who advance in the workplace are team players.

To be able to energize and motivate a team you have to be a positive person. The workplace is not the arena to share all of the woes in your life. Not only will you bring your office mates down emotionally, your inability to get your life in order doesn't exactly shout team leader. It's even worse if customers are driven away by your "woe is me" tales. Before you enter the workplace take everything that is bothering you emotionally and place it into an imaginary sack. Leave the sack outside your office building. When the workday is over you can pick up your sack of problems to take home. Odds are once you've been without them for 8 hours you'll probably leave them there.



Today's world moves quickly and deadlines are everywhere. If you continuously show up late for work or make excuses for your tardiness it is a clear sign you do not take your position seriously. So maybe you're not a morning person. Perhaps you need to go to bed earlier or figure out why you're not sleeping. It has been shown that a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends, is easier on the body.

Showing up late for work won't win you any brownie points but completing projects after their due date will definitely hurt your career. You position was created because it is an integral piece to the whole project. If assignments aren't completed on time or are haphazardly thrown together your work begins to affect everyone else. More often than not someone else has to pick up your slack and that is usually your boss. A boss who has to continuously clean up after you will definitely not recommend you for a promotion.


It is more professional to take responsibility for your actions even when it means admitting you are wrong. Creating an excuse is easy but the trouble with an excuse is that people see right through them. Your car wouldn't start, traffic was horrible, you overslept, save the time required to come up with an excuse because your boss has heard them all. Instead of trying to justify your unprofessional behavior simply admit that you are wrong and you will try to do better in the future.


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    • Jennifer Essary profile image

      Jennifer Essary 5 years ago from Idaho

      Thanks Alecia,

      I think most of these things should be common sense because they do not change with the times. Yet, we've all probably witnessed some, if not all, of these behaviors.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      This is on point, Jennifer. I've seen enough to know some things cannot change with the times. You have to be on time, do your work, keep your mouth closed and stay away from personal activities that are taking up work time. Awesome hub!

    • Jennifer Essary profile image

      Jennifer Essary 6 years ago from Idaho

      emilybee, I agree that although you can act professional you may still not be recognized in the workplace. Today it seems that only those who do far more than what is expected receive any recognition. However, I believe if people continue to show off their chonies any extra effort they put forward will be for naught. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts : )

    • emilybee profile image

      emilybee 6 years ago

      Awesome hub :) Professionalism is key, but yet sometimes those who do dress and act appropriately are not recognized for these great traits. These tips are great things to consider in every day life, too. Voted up.

    • Jennifer Essary profile image

      Jennifer Essary 6 years ago from Idaho

      poshcoffeeco, You are absolutely correct! I grew up in the 80's and made all of the fashion mistakes that were popular at the time. But at least my knickers were covered : ) I was watching a news story last night about a new restaurant in town. There was a young man who was wearing his pants below his bottom and actually bent over in front of the camera while he was working. I couldn't believe that didn't get edited out.

    • poshcoffeeco profile image

      Steve Mitchell 6 years ago from Cambridgeshire

      Great information Jennifer Essary.The part about what you wear at work is so true. So many of our younger generation now seem to want to show off their underwear, particularly boys with their jeans almost round their ankles and backsides hanging out. Not a good look at all.

    • Jennifer Essary profile image

      Jennifer Essary 6 years ago from Idaho

      The Finance Hub, Thank you so much for your kind words and vote. I'll be on the lookout for your Hubs.

    • Jennifer Essary profile image

      Jennifer Essary 6 years ago from Idaho

      Tammy, I'm happy this gave you a laugh. As a recent instructor of "adults" it is amazing to me that these things don't register for some as inappropriate. I think most of us in the workplace can relate this article to at least one person we know.

    • Jennifer Essary profile image

      Jennifer Essary 6 years ago from Idaho

      Vradu, Thank you very much for such a nice compliment.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Great hub. This made me chuckle as someone who has worked in the professional environment for 20 years. I have seen people fail because of their non-professional behavior. I have been amazed over the years the things some people will wear to work. Great hub and great for discussion. I hope people will read this.

    • Vradu profile image

      Vradu 6 years ago from Calcutta, India

      explained the entire matter in a very nice way.. You have a good writing style..


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