If you want to be successful in any field, being a professional is essential. But being a professional requires more than having specialized knowledge or dressing appropriately for the situation. It also includes such attributes as:
- Arriving on time to meetings, with note-taking materials in hand, and actively participating;
- Fully engaging in problem-solving discussions and project planning;
- Keeping your knowledge and skills current;
- Being honest and integral with coworkers, clients, or students;
- Always being competent and reliable by producing high quality work and meeting deadlines;
- Seeking input or help from others when needed;
- Honoring commitments and being accountable for your actions and words;
- Making use of time management and planning skills on a daily basis; and
- Exhibiting a high degree of emotional intelligence by communicating clearly, listening actively, and understanding the emotional needs of others.
Professional skills are career competencies that often are not taught (or acquired) as part of the coursework required to earn your masters or PhD. Professional skills such as leadership, mentoring, project management, and conflict resolution are value-added skills essential to any career.