A misconception often associated with professionalism is that it can be judged at face value. In reality, it’s an overarching concept which includes characteristics such as politeness, time management and conflict resolution, amongst many others. This post will briefly outline why professionalism is essential for entry-level PR.
In PR you are likely to come across a large number of people you need to communicate with. From colleagues to clients, CEOs to receptionists, all of the people you encounter should be treated respectfully. When working with colleagues, listen attentively to what others have to say and show your willingness to learn, absorb and feedback. By communicating in a professional way you’re more likely to build expertise. Working in PR will present interesting topics of debate surrounding values, religion and politics. By getting your point across, not belittling others or becoming argumentative it shows you’re open to learning.
A big part of professionalism is accountability. As a beginner it’s essential to admit when you’ve made a mistake and not be afraid to ask for help. In the same way that being honest with yourself is important, it’s important to be honest to others around you and honour your commitments.
The fast-moving nature of PR means that social media is widely used by industry professionals. Professionalism in this case means being mindful of what you do and don’t mind others seeing. You don’t have to hide yourself from the public eye entirely. as some channels can be useful to display creativity and writing ability. Adjust your privacy settings accordingly and be conscious of what others can access, particularly employers and clients.
When dealing with clients it’s important to show enthusiasm for the company and the project. If it doesn’t appeal to you at first, treat it as an opportunity to show adaptability. Showing a positive attitude can be the make or break of securing a project. For example, if at a client briefing you are listening attentively, showing positive body language and asking questions, you will be better received than someone who appears uninterested.
Depending on the company or industry sector, appropriate attire can alter dramatically. Some PR firms require formal wear where as others encourage casual. By dressing appropriately it shows that you’ve taken the initiative to find out what dress code is required and can fit in with company culture.
Professionalism demonstrates that you have invested in your personal reputation and want to upkeep it. It allows you to show your personality, and demonstrate consideration for others at the same time. This way the workplace will remain a comfortable and pleasant environment.