There is much to be said about being “professional” and some recent articles I have read reflect how if you spend a lot of time working on being “professional” that you are doing it wrong. This is interesting but for new employees it is never a simple thing to be considered “professional”. At times, your age can work against you or your social media profiles or your general persona can be interpreted as being unprofessional. Did you giggle too much at a networking event? Did you keep your eyes fixated on your cell phone screen during a meet and greet?
As I talk about in the next installment of my college and career readiness series the book How to Graduate with a Job Offer, you are an unproven entity – you are “green” and therefore potentially risky. You can mitigate this risk for the hiring manager and decision makers at the firm. Find out more here about My College and Career Readiness Books.
The best thing to have done is to have lots of real world work experience in the form of internships or summer employment in corporate environments. If you do not have this (and there is no time to get this done), you can use other job experiences to document that you were professional. However, the best thing to have it letters of recommendations from corporate bosses that include references to your performance and your personality as a great worker.
It is best to be able to have these things speak for you but sometimes you cannot get this work experience squeezed in. In these cases, just always be dressed appropriately, show you are on time and focused for any interviews. Beware how you use social media (you can learn more about Using Social Media to Build Your Brand While Young). You need to dress the part – make sure your clothing reflects you as a grown up – your clothing should fit properly and it is always better to be overdressed than under-dressed. Find out more by reading me Dress for Success Tips.
If you can add in work experiences, internships (paid or unpaid), you can be ready to confirm that you are professional, that you can fit in for corporate culture around being mature and present and ready to work and maybe even graduate with a job offer.
This information is part of my workshops and seminars and my upcoming second book on College and Career Readiness; please follow me and learn with me on preparing to transition from college to career. I share a ton of advice here Blog University Advice Category. Happy hunting!
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Lisa Vento Nielsen