Professionalism – 5 Characteristics That Detract from Professionalism in the Workplace

Do you project a professional image? Professionalism in the workplace is based on many factors, including how you dress, how you carry yourself, your attitude, and how you interact with others.

Some characteristics put you at risk of making a negative impression, and this can hurt your career.

Here are 5 key characteristics to watch for, and ways to change them.

1. Negative attitude: Dressing or behaving badly, and thinking that no one will notice, is a sure sign that people will notice – and think badly of you. Your attitude colors everything you do. Pay attention to how you dress, and how you treat other people. It does make a difference.

2. Unprofessional body language: Here are two things we see often in public, that create a poor impression. The first one is yawing with your mouth wide open. Showing the world your molars isn’t professional. Cover your mouth.

3. More unprofessional body language: Chewing gum advertises you as unprofessional. It’s distracting to see someone chomping away at a piece of gum while they are talking to a client, or in a meeting. If you chew gum while driving to an appointment, get rid of it before your meeting.

4. Excessive fragrance: Too much perfume or aftershave lotion is distracting, and can aggravate allergies in some people. Be clean and fresh, but keep your fragrance to a minimum. People should not smell your fragrance unless they are hugging you. If they smell you across the room, you’ve overdone it.

5. Unkempt fingernails: Women with inch-long fingernails, as well as unusual colors of polish, are not taken seriously. Anyone with ragged, or unkempt nails makes a poor impression as well. Did you know that people notice hands right after they notice faces? Keep your nails trimmed and clean. For women, a clear polish or French manicure looks classy and professional.