As an administrative professional, it’s crucial that you make a good impression all the time. Your actions and appearance can say a lot about who you are, your work ethic, dependability, and more.
Whether you’re at the office or outside of work, it’s important to maintain a certain level of professionalism at all times since you’re representing not only yourself, but your executive and company. You also never know who you’ll meet or who’s paying attention.
The following are some tips for being more professional in ways and places you may not have considered!
1. Office behavior – From the moment you enter your office parking lot to the moment you leave, you need to conduct yourself in a professional manner. Even the way you sit at your desk (no slouching!) and your tone of voice is a reflection of your professionalism. You don’t need to worry about everything you do and say; just be conscious of your words and actions and conduct yourself appropriately.
2. Work space/desk – Nothing says “I don’t have my act together” like a messy, disorganized desk or work area. You may not intend to give off that impression. However, if you have papers scattered everywhere or piled so high people can’t see you, that’s exactly what your executive and colleagues will think. Keep your desk neat and organized and you’ll not only show people you’re a competent admin, you make your job a lot easier, too!
3. Personal appearance – Your appearance says a lot about who you are as a professional, so make sure it’s saying the right thing. Dressing inappropriately or sloppy shows a lack of self-confidence and professionalism. Make sure your clothes, make-up, and accessories are tasteful and your appearance will enhance your professional abilities, not undermine them. (For more tips on dressing for administrative success, click here.)
4. Phone/voicemail – Anytime you answer the phone – whether it’s at the office, home, or your cell phone – you should do it in a professional manner. You never know who could be on the other end of the line, so it’s important to address every caller like you’d address your executive. Your voicemail message should also be reflective of your level of professionalism, even on your home and cell phones. Cute messages from your kids or grandkids might seem like an adorable idea, but what happens if the HR manager from your dream company calls for an interview? You don’t want someone to question your level of professionalism before they even meet you.
5. Email – A good rule of thumb for keeping your email professional is to never write anything you — or your executive — wouldn’t say to someone in person. You also need to make sure you end all your emails with a professional closing salutation, such as thank you, all the best, and regards, as well as an appropriate email auto signature (i.e. one with professional contact information).
6. Vehicle – If you drive to work, use your car for business, or transport people from the office, then you need to make sure your car is in tip top professional shape. A dirty exterior or interior can not only put people off, it can also show apathy. Make sure your car is clean inside and out, even if it’s just sitting in the parking lot!
7. Social media – What you post on social media outlets is a big indicator of your professionalism – whether you’re posting to your personal accounts or ones belonging to your executive or company. Re-read each post before you put up to make sure it’s appropriate. If there’s ever any doubt about whether a post is acceptable, don’t post it! Social outlets have privacy settings, but they’re not ironclad. You don’t want to jeopardize your current – or future – job by posting something that could get you in trouble or come back to haunt you.
Maintaining your professionalism at the office and beyond takes some careful attention to detail. However, it’s extremely important in preserving your image as an innovative, responsible, and competent admin. Don’t let one unprofessional slip tarnish your reputation; your career depends on it!
© 2013 Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.