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9 simple ways to be more professional at the office

When you start your first grown-up job, you might not know how to be professional as you’re accustomed to university or college culture. Making an effort to meet deadlines, dress appropriately and always come prepared will positively affect how your colleagues perceive you. Resist slipping into unprofessional patterns at your internship abroad and earn the respect of your coworkers. These 9 simple tricks will help you stay on the right track:


How to be professional at the office


1. Avoid engaging in office gossip

Office gossip can be fun and juicy – but it also distracts everyone from their work and can turn into simply misinforming or bad-talking your coworkers. It’s best not to drag down others in office gossip – even if it’s true. It’s negative, disrespectful and unprofessional.


2. Arrive on time

Being punctual reflects the respect that you have for your boss, coworkers and the schedule that they’ve established. On the flip side, if you get to work late it reflects disrespect and carelessness. Get to work early or on time if you want to act like a professional and be taken more seriously.


3. Dress to impress

Maintaining a professional image is time and energy well spent. Looking keen for the job actually affects how the rest of the office perceives your ability to deliver. So why not look your best at the office? Also don’t forget the importance of arriving to the office well-groomed.


how to be professional


4. Be nice to everyone

Even if you don’t see eye to eye with some of your coworkers, maintain a positive and friendly dynamic with them in order to stay professional and to make your time at the office go more smoothly. The office is not the place for being petty. Foster positive relationships with everyone around you to create the best possible working environment.


5. Learn and follow office policy

Office policies, outlined through employee handbooks, are meant to keep you and your coworkers protected. Learn your rights in the office place and uphold the rules. Breaking these rules is unprofessional, unnecessary and, in certain cases, could get you fired.


6. Watch your noise level

Offices should be a quiet place, in general – a space where people can focus and get their work done. It’s important not to make a lot of noise. Don’t scream or shout (even if the most amazing thing happens) and keep your phone on silent.


how to be professional


7. Don’t let your personal life interfere with work

Clear boundaries between your work and professional life are important to establish. Nobody’s personal conflicts or anything else of the sort should be affecting how work is getting done.


8. Meet deadlines

You want your boss to know that you’re dependable and able to manage your time well. If you are given a deadline and know that it couldn’t possibly be done in that window, let your boss know. Deadlines are what hold you accountable, but don’t be afraid to say something about unrealistic ones that you know you can’t meet. The work needs to be done when it’s expected to be done so manage expectations where necessary.


9. Be prepared

Always come to the office with what you need to have a successful work day. When you have a meeting, know what’s expected of you and know what you need to do and say – even if you’re just there to listen. Basically, know what is going on, what’s coming and be ready for it.


To truly learn how to be professional apply now for an international internship!




Photo 1. based on Professional, by Paul Jackson, CC-by-2.0

Photo 2. based on Group of happy business people clapping their hands, by tec_estromberg, CC-by-2.0

Photo 3. based on 1.2 canstock, by e3Learning, CC-by-ND 2.0

Photos and blog by Elizabeth Trovall

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!