Some of what goes over well at school may not cut it in the workplace. In your long career as a student, you've become keenly aware of what is expected of you; when you make the shift to employee or intern, you will be held to very different standards.
What does it mean to be a professional? First and foremost, it means that it’s not about you (whatever it is). You are being compensated to play a role in moving forward the organization you work for. How do you show your professionalism? Start here:
Be on time and ready to go.
Punctuality impacts productivity, shows respect, and telegraphs your dependability. Make it a practice to show up a little early to work, meetings, and appointments.
Introduce yourself like a grown-up (even if you don’t feel like one).
Make eye contact, shake hands firmly, and speak clearly. If necessary, fake it till you make it.
Don’t complain, don’t gossip.
Beware of becoming so comfy with your co-workers that you feel like you can say whatever’s on your mind. Developing a reputation as negative, indiscrete or offensive may impact your ability to advance in your current position and curtail future professional opportunities.
Clean up your digital footprint.
Both your employers and colleagues will Google you, so be aware of the image that you present. Don’t be seen saying or doing unwholesome or unseemly things. Keep your partying to yourself and don’t discuss your work on social media.
Formalize emails/texts/instant messages.
It may take a few extra minutes, but anything you put in writing should use correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, etc. Such messages help readers form an impression of you and your company, so no emoticons, slang, or online acronyms.
Professionalism will go a long way towards securing your personal career success as well as that of your organization.