Real Talk

5 ways to be more professional at work.

Being professional at work brings all sorts of career benefits. Think raises, promotions, even just respect from co-workers – who doesn’t want these things, am I right!? I don’t know about you, but sometimes I struggle with ways to make myself appear more professional. I still almost feel like a kid pretending to be an adult, if you know what I mean.

girl boss

Basically, it’s SO easy to get comfortable and sometimes I need little reminders to make sure I’m coming off how I want to. After connecting with some friends in different industries, I realized that there are 5 easy things you can do to make yourself more professional. Here they are:

Always be on time.

It may go without saying, but being punctual goes a long way to making you look more professional – no matter if you’re a blogger, a CEO, or a teacher. Being on time to meetings (and to work in general) says to your colleagues and clients that you take them seriously and value their time. If you’re constantly late, you’re going to be perceived as not caring and not taking your career serious, which isn’t a good look no matter the industry. I do my best to always be 20 minutes early as a cushion in case there is unexpected traffic or I need to make a last minute stop along the way. I hate the idea of people waiting for me in any situation.


Become a resource.

Obviously if you’re new to the job, you’re going to be leaning on others to get trained – but once you’re settled in to your role, let others know you’re there to help them. This not only helps show that you’re invested in the company, it’ll also help you establish yourself as a leader. And once you’re looked up to like that, it’s only a matter of time before the promotions and raises start rolling in.

Also, you always want to be a “need” in the eyes of your boss. If layoffs were tomorrow, would they be able to get rid of you? Not if they rely on you for a bunch of stuff that only you can do or know how to do, so be sure to stick out in a good way.

Dress appropriately.

Depending on your company and the industry you work in, dressing the part is probably the easiest way to make yourself more professional. I’m not saying you need to wear a suit every day if you work for a lax tech company – just look up to your manager and leadership teams and try and mimic their dress codes. You want to come off like you take your job seriously, and although wearing comfy workout clothes may be tempting, it might not be best step for your career. Also, it seems sort of weird, but when I dress nicer I feel like I’m actually more productive.


Keep your desk tidy.

It’s easy to let things pile up on your desk, especially when you’re super busy – trust me, I can totally relate! But tidying up your desk at the end of each day will make you appear more organized, and this in and of itself will make others perceive you as more professional. This tip even applies if you work remotely from home. You’ll feel better and be more efficient when you’re more organized, so it’s a total win-win!

office supplies

Separate your personal life.

When you get comfortable at work and with your co-workers, it’s natural to talk about your personal life more often. We spend so much time with our co-workers, and a lot of the time they become our close friends. Although it’s awesome to have work friends, it’s not so awesome to talk about how hungover you are because you went out drinking the night before. No matter how comfortable you are at work, it’s not professional to talk about stuff like this. Save it for after work, or for your lunch break.

Do you have any tips that have made you more professional? Any funny stories you have to share around the fine line between being professional and unprofessional? Would love to hear!

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