Developing professionalism is critical if you desire to put your best foot forward in your job and life. Not only will it result in you finding great success, but it’ll help build your character.

There are many elements to professionalism. A few are managing your time, being assertive yet kind, and being punctual.

If you’d like to focus your attention on how to be more professional, keep reading. These seven tips will point you in the right direction!


1. Manage Your Time

Time management plays a significant role in the business world. How you use your time dictates how much you get done. And what tasks you complete weigh heavily on how well you perform at your job.

Even if you’re good at managing your time, there are always ways to improve.

To use your time more effectively, monitor how you’re using it. Using a timer is the easiest way to do this. Or, you can use a time tracking app.

Whatever method you use, start tracking your time when working on a new activity and stop when you finish. Keep a log of your tasks and how much time you spend on them each day.

How you spend your time is very telling. For example, you may discover that you’re spending too much time on a particular task. Ideally, it should only take you 20 minutes to complete, but it’s taking an hour!

Luckily, you can figure out how to shorten the time it takes to do that task and others. From there, you can also come up with ways to be more productive.

2. Be Assertive

There will be times when your boss may need some extra help. Unfortunately, they won’t always have time to tell you they need assistance. They’re too tied up to remember to take their lunch break, let alone ask for help!

When that happens, it’s up to you to look for opportunities to help your boss out. Whether it’s on a project or helping with a meeting, take the initiative.

You can be more assertive by letting your supervisor know that if they need you to pitch in, that you’re available.

If they’re super slammed, they’ll likely take you up on your offer. During this time, make sure you do an excellent job. If you perform well at the task, it may open the door to take on more responsibilities.

Being assertive pays off, so don’t be afraid to volunteer your time!

3. Become a Better Listener

Are you a good listener?

It doesn’t matter what you do for a living; no one likes to repeat themselves ten times.

If your listening skills could use some work, practice concentrating. You can do this by listening to what a friend or family member is telling you. After they give you instructions, repeat them back to them. Doing this simple exercise will teach you how to listen better.

On your boss’ end, they want to know you’re paying attention. Your body language will show them whether you’re listening or not. So, while they’re talking to you, look engaged. Keep your shoulders straight and maintain eye contact. Doing these small actions will show your boss and co-workers that you’re carefully listening.

Happy mixed race students gathered in classroom, looking at camera.

If you need something clarified, it’s okay to ask questions. But it would be best if you zeroed in on what your boss or co-worker is telling you. That way, they won’t have to go over the details all over again later.

4. Arrive at Work on Time

Part of maintaining a professional image is continually arriving to work on time. Getting to work when you’re supposed to show your company that you care about your job. You respect the rules they have in place, and you don’t want anything to jeopardize that.

Now, you may have the occasional sick day or emergency that may come up. And that’s okay. You can’t help it when you get sick. Plus, your boss probably won’t want you to come in anyway if you’re sick. You don’t want to get anyone else ill!

But back to the topic at hand. For the most part, make it a top priority to get there on time or a little early. Your punctuality will look good to your boss and colleagues. Plus, you’ll feel proud of yourself too.

5. Dress the Part

If you haven’t upgraded your professional wardrobe in a while, it’d be wise to do so. Especially if you’re new to a job, you want to look your best.

Besides, your boss will take you more seriously if you wear work attire that fits with the office culture. Whereas if you stick out like a sore thumb, everyone there is going to notice.

The last thing you want to do is come to work looking like you just crawled out of bed. So, make sure you have the appropriate clothing so that you’ll look your best while on the job.

6. Respect Your Co-Workers Boundaries

People have boundaries, especially at work.

An example of work boundaries is not interrupting a boss for the first hour of the day. Instead, they may like to read over the latest sales reports during that time and need to concentrate.

Everyone has professional boundaries, so try to be intuitive and don’t go past them. It may take a while to get to know your supervisor and co-worker’s limitations. But after a time, you should know where their comfort levels lie inside and outside of work.


At the same time, you need to set some boundaries of your own. For example, know when to say no to more work if you’ve already got too much on your plate.

With healthy boundaries, everyone can stay happy and productive at work.

7. Choose Kindness

Being kind may seem like a simple professional tip, but it can go a long way. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get wrapped up in work drama and be rude to people.

You may be having a bad day, so you take it out on them. While you’re not perfect, you should do everything you can to be understanding. That includes being gracious to the co-workers who aren’t your favorite to work with.

Don’t get caught up in office gossip or spread rumors about someone. Be gracious and kind. Part of this is always giving someone the benefit of the doubt before jumping to conclusions.

Kindness always wins!


Being a professional takes practice. Luckily, there are always ways to enhance your professionalism. It’s always a work in progress, and that’s okay.

If you want to be the best employee out there, realize it won’t always come easy. But with a little bit of practice, patience, and assertiveness, you’ll get there!

Author Bio

Amber Smith is the Leasing Manager at Catalyst Houston. With over seven years of experience at luxury apartment communities, this Houston native has true pride in her city and understands why Catalyst is the perfect place to call home.