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What is Professionalism? Definitions of professionalism in part vary from field to industry.

Updated on October 3, 2013

Professionalism in many fields and attire



What comes to your mind when someone says, "He is a true professional!" ? That can mean several things, however certain characteristics are clear and it is a culmination of many things rolled into one.

A professional presents an appearance appropriate to the profession they work in. It may not always mean a suit, or a suit and tie, but could mean that. A professional, no matter what they wear ,is always neat, tidy and clean. There are no missing buttons and no strings hanging from a shirt for example, however if the job calls for construction, a button or string means very little to the quality of the worker or his/her professional quality. It is the demeanor with which one carries themselves and the behavior they embody. Professionalism is an attitude with which they deal with the public, coworkers and subordinates as well. It is the attitude of excellence of workmanship delivered that makes or breaks a pro.

Demeanor includes a calm in extreme circumstances, polite when speaking with anyone, and an aura of knowledge acquired and presence in the field and off. A true professional will engage in conversation with knowledge, does not present a "know it all" attitude and realizes they don't know everything. If faced with something they don't know, they research before they speak. Additionally, a professional delivers as promised and doesn't promise what they cannot offer. Keeping one's word is part of the integrity of an individual.

Integrity is another facet of professionalism. That speaks to the character of the person overall. The integrity of a professional speaks to the quality of the person such as honesty, values, principles and expectation of quality of their work outcome.

Hear how many describe professionalism


Appropriate dress for office Professionals


Sharing in the field

A true professional realizes the value of others in their group and treats them with regard and respect. No idle rumor will pass a professional's lips. While demonstrating to others, a professional never condescends and will often find a bright highlight in a coworker.

We are what we eat.

Well, not exactly, we are how we speak, how we dress and how we reflect onto others and yes, perhaps the manner in which we eat. The picture to the right shows professional dress for a business environment. In part, we are how we dress. The image demonstrated must be supported with all other facets of the definition of professional, else it becomes a facade only and quickly seen through.

Professionalism in a field; meet and greet

People do business with professionals they feel they can trust and rely upon


Habits of a Pro

During telephone and written communications a professional traditionally is succinct and to the point and always polite no matter what. Another attribute which sets a pro apart from the rest is character.

In the face of an error and it was their own mistake, they take responsibility for their own actions or lack thereof. There is no passing the blame since they realize the only way to correct an error or recover from it is to see it clearly, seek a remedy and learn from it. Because a professional does this, they become well respected by colleagues and superiors. This type of behavior develops trust and decency when involved in any interaction with others.

People like to be around others who embody these qualities. Subordinates often will be motivated to go the extra mile while under this type of leadership. Innately this is what drives productivity and generates more business. People like doing business with a true professional.

Recognizing a professional

Who has made a decision not to do business with someone because of a lack of professionalism?

See results

Read all signs and those not posted

No matter what the profession, to embody these qualities is a discipline, one which is noticeable to others even at a subliminal level. It is not the degrees or awards well within view, it is what is within the person that brought them to those levels of achievements. Those are carried within the person and creates a seeming gravitational pull wherever that person is, on or off duty. Professionals are developed and grow in their practice. With all that in mind, a pro can be spotted from a distance and is what makes them a success part and particle of a winning attitude, the one we all would like to do business with or simply be around. Professionals are a breed not developed with money, but with earning our respect.

Tools of the Trade

Organization is of utmost importance in keeping track of daily activities. Also, depending on the business, this may include a laptop or briefcase of files as well. No matter what the tools, a professional should not be digging for what they need. Items should be well kept in order.

Professionalism in every industry
Professionalism in every industry | Source

All in all, professionalism is a practice: a set of skills, study and behaviors in each day, from dry cleaning and grooming to being punctual and practical and learned, not just for one day or year, but a life time.


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    • barbat79 profile imageAUTHOR

      B A Tobin 

      6 years ago from Connnecticut

      Thank you for your comments, agapsikap. And sadly I agree that true professionalism is not always present. Sometimes, the nature of a business may create this type of reaction you name...but that is not an excuse for inappropriate behavior of any kind.

    • agapsikap profile image


      6 years ago from Philippines

      True indeed, those are the true characteristics of a real professional. Unfortunately there are professionals who doesn't even care about the word professionalism while they happen to be polite only to their respective clients and superiors, but shows dominant behaviors to those less fortunate and subordinates without restrictions.

      Overall this is really an excellent hub. It is very useful and well written.

      I like the part when you said, "All in all, professionalism is a practice..not just for one day or a year but a life time."


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