Professionalism and Work Ethic

Professionalism leads to workplace success, and a positive reputation. Developing a strong work ethic is a habit that will carry on after college. Seeking personal growth and self improvement is valued by employers, and considered essential in the workplace. Demonstrating personal accountability and effective work habits, e.g., punctuality, working productively with others, and time workload management, and integrity and ethical behavior. Ensuring that you are acting responsibly with the interests of the larger community in mind, and able to learn and grow from mistakes, challenges, and setbacks.

Sample Behaviors

  • Act equitably with integrity and accountability to self, others, and the organization.
  • Maintain a positive personal brand in alignment with organization and personal career values.
  • Be present and prepared.
  • Demonstrate dependability (e.g., report consistently for work or meetings).
  • Prioritize and complete tasks to accomplish organizational goals.
  • Consistently meet or exceed goals and expectations.
  • Have an attention to detail, resulting in few if any errors in their work.
  • Show a high level of dedication toward doing a good job.

NACE Center for Career Development and Talent Acquisition®

Developing Professionalism and Work Ethic

  • Participate in student organizations
  • Complete a leadership development program
  • Complete an internship
  • Volunteer with a non-profit
  • Present at a conference
  • Attend a networking event
  • Practice developing health habits
  • Maintain a calendar
  • Take on leadership roles
  • Become a project manager
  • Develop your professional image (LinkedIn)
  • Demonstrate integrity and be reliable

What does growth look like?

LevelTypeDescription
1Exposure
  • Identifies and utilizes effective work habits, goal setting
  • Defines the value of self-development, personal accountability, strengths, and a growth mindset
  • Reflects on one’s current reputation in personal, educational, professional, and online settings
  • Maintains awareness of ones limitations
2Interaction
  • Considers new approaches and adapts work habits for productivity and efficiency
  • Sets educational and professionals goals that reflect one’s interests, skills, and work values
  • Considers what one wants to be known for in personal, educational, professional, and online settings
3Participation/ Proficiency
  • Invests in developing the work habits, knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to continue to grow and excel
  • Integrates feedback and connects how actions can influence others and impact one’s reputation in personal, educational, professional, and online settings
  • Seeks out self-development opportunities and demonstrates personal accountability and resilience
4Expertise
  • Seeks feedback and connects how actions can influence others and impact one’s reputation in personal, educational, professional, and online settings
  • Demonstrates integrity and ethical behaviors, acts responsibly with the interests of the community in mind
  • Ongoing attainment and reevaluation of educational and professional goals that reflect one’s interests, skills, and work values
5Mastery
  • Facilitates self-development opportunities and serves as a resource for others to develop their work habits, knowledge, skills, and attitudes
  • Supports others as they attempt to achieve congruence between their intended and perceived reputations
  • Adjusts educational and professional goals based on one’s interests, skills, and work values even when difficult