Practicing professionalism in college pays off in the future

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By Anna Hecht

Tackling college and maintaining a professional reputation may be a struggle for some University students. While working to create a positive first impression on professors and potential employers, college students are simultaneously facing enormous amounts of stress, deadlines, exams and homework. When under incredible amounts of pressure, the anxiety of college can make appearing professional on a daily basis seem altogether impossible. Below is a list of tips for appearing and acting professional every day. 

1. Allow yourself time to de-stress and relax at least once a day 

Whatever it is that you enjoy, make time for it — even if it’s only for a few minutes. Whether it’s going to the gym, taking a walk, cooking a nice meal or reading a few inspirational quotes, do it. The rest of your day will feel less forced once you have collected your thoughts. And you will look and feel less frazzled as you go about your day.

 

2. Plan out your days

To appear punctual and organized, be sure to first consider how long it takes for you to get from point A to point B in the morning and in between classes. By arriving a few minutes early to class, you’ll have time to get organized and take a deep breath. Not to mention, your professors will notice and appreciate your timeliness and dedication to the course, especially as those last few straggler students are still slipping through the door after the start of class. In the end, punctuality goes hand in hand with professionalism.

 

3. Participate in class

Once you’ve proven yourself to be a punctual and put-together student, your professors will likely be your greatest resource when in need of recommendations for internship and job applications. But being on time to class isn’t always enough to guarantee a five-star letter of recommendation from the professor of your choice. As irritating as some students may find classroom participation, it’s important to ask questions and share your opinions about the subject matter. Bottom line: An “A for effort” really does go a long way in college. 

 

4. Keep your social media professional

When outside the classroom, it’s important to keep a handle on your Twitter handle, as well as  all other social media outlets. In other words, the less “selfies,” bikini shots and drunk party pics out there, the better. If you are having trouble deciding whether to post an entire album of last night’s shenanigans, it’s probably best to hold off. 

One good rule of thumb is to think of yourself as your potential employer and let that be your Facebook filter. If you wouldn’t hire yourself based on your social media presence, then your potential employer probably wouldn’t, either. 

 

5. Dress your best for interviews 

Finally, an interview is the ultimate time to appear professional. For your interview to go well, it’s important to take pride in yourself and your appearance and to act confidently. Unfortunately, many people will not get the job of their dreams. And it may not be because they didn’t have the necessary skill set; it’s because they didn’t show the interviewer that they were the best fit for the job. 

An interview is your chance to sell yourself, and to prove that you are the best candidate, not just an adequate candidate.

When prepping for an interview, pick out your best business professional attire and update your resume to highlight the experiences that relate most to the job for which you are applying. As the interview proceeds, be confident in speaking about your accomplishments because your hard work deserves to be recognized. 

Anna is a junior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected]