Cultivate Your Professionalism


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D. 

As you prepare for graduation and the workforce, the CEO of a talent development agency thinks one of the most important things you can do is to enhance your level of professionalism.  

Chelsea Williams heads up College Code, a company that works with education institutions, employers, and students to cultivate workforce development. She said that employers “…want to see how well the candidate is able to exhibit a sense of professionalism and lead their area of expertise on behalf of the department if they were left in a room full of executive leadership.” 

Employers look for a sense of professionalism through examples of collaboration according to Williams. “Sharing examples that focus on the candidate’s ability to influence and lead the right discussions to carry a project through the finish line shows immediate value-add.” 

Professionalism goes beyond these characteristics.  “Employers want new workers to be responsible, ethical, and team oriented, and to possess strong communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills. Wrap these skills up all together and you’ve got an insider’s view into professionalism.”  

Students should build on these skills throughout their college career.  And as early as possible you should learn how to articulate these traits to potential employers.  Employers can easily identify evidence of a candidate’s professionalism on a resume and cover letter by the way they organize their thoughts and the experiences they have had throughout their collegiate career. Mock interviewing also provides an opportunity for students to practice how to best verbalize leadership, collaboration, proven results, and professionalism.   

Your UofL career centers can assist in building your professionalism, learning how to communicate that to employers, and other steps in your journey toward a rewarding professional life after college. To find the career center for your major/academic program, check out this link.