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Being professional at uni

Professionalism is about attitudes, values and conduct. Professional appearances, manner and etiquette are all important facets of personal professionalism. It is important in any work setting because it shows that you not only care about your activities but also that you respect your peers.

Let’s take a look…

By your Career Services Team

Writing/speaking skills when contacting Academics and Professional staff

In the professional world, text-talk and acronyms do not exist. The language you use with your friends (i.e. slang words) is different to the one you would use to communicate with your teachers and other professionals. If you don’t find yourself using the proper language or grammar when you text, talk or email, now is the time to learn how to write in a professional way; speaking and writing displaying sound mastery of semi-formal and formal language.

Voicemail/Email address

A professional voicemail and email address, reflecting your name as opposed to an immature/childish one can land or lose your credibility. If you still have a voicemail with a funny phrase, or an email address which you created when you were 14 (batman1998, sweeteyes19), you won’t make a good impression and the recipient might not bother replying back to you.

Social Media

Think carefully about what you’re posting on social media, e.g. drunken photos, posts criticising lecturers and the university. Don’t do it, you can easily be found and may lose all credibility.  Also, take the time to double-check spelling and use proper grammar. It pays to edit comments and posts before clicking the share button.

Be mindful of how you present yourself on social media. Photo by Tracy Le Blanc.


Confidence in your skill, knowledge, and personality can separate you from the next best person. Nobody likes an overly confident show off but being able to be confident in yourself and your skills stand out more than you may think. Note however, that there is a fine line between showing off and confidence. Don’t show off, tell people what and how you were able to accomplish instead.

Ask Questions

Not knowing what to do, where to go, and who to talk to is okay. As young adults, we take pride in learning how to do things for ourselves. However, it is normal to ask for help. Sometimes, asking for help makes you stand out because it shows you’re willing to learn and that you are not afraid to step outside your comfort zone. 

Attend Appointments

Attend your university appointments as you say you would, or call/email as soon as you realise that you won’t be able to attend. Apologise briefly over email, phone or face to face. It can happen to any of us, when unexpected situations come up. However, do not make it a habit. Show up 5 to 10 mins prior to the start of the meeting, only.

Finally, remember

  • to collaborate rather than compete
  • to encourage dialogue and support others
  • to model the behaviour of what you believe is good professional behaviour
  • to be flexible, versatile and able to adapt. 
  • to be polite, respectful and considerate
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