So you find yourself needing a job fast. So, read on and get yourself some great tips.
Your role as a professional is intimately tied to your brand, attitude, and reputation and thus plays a huge part in expanding your networks. But what exactly is a “professional”?
TIP: A professional is simply someone who is serious about their craft, and every action they take solidifies and amplifies that dedication.
The definition of a professional is simple: It is someone who is serious about their craft and exhibits that seriousness in every possible way, including:
- How they interact with others.
- What they say.
- How they say it—their use of vocabulary, tone, and poise.
- Their attitude.
- How they approach their work.
- Their attention to appropriate and culturally-mandated etiquette (in interactions, meals, and correspondence).
- What they wear and when they wear it.
The importance of being professional cannot be overstated. If you are perceived as a professional you will be treated as a professional. This serves to elevate your brand and amplify your reputation. It is a critical lynchpin in networking, because if people see you as a professional they are more likely to engage you for a career opportunity. Think about it this way—the opposite of a professional is someone who is an amateur, hobbyist or enthusiast. They consider their work something enjoyable but not something that demands their full attention or that takes priority in their lives. But you, my friend, are a professional, which means that I know you are so serious about your craft that you will stop at nothing to solve the problems associated with your craft. Professionals want to engage other professionals for employment and other significant collaborations.
TIP: Being known and seen as a professional is especially vital in networking, because if people view you as a professional they are more likely to engage you for a career opportunity, whether it is hidden or advertised.
One of my favorite stories about how critical it is to establish yourself as a professional from the first moment of contact stems from a time when I was on a search committee for a new employee in my department. The person was interviewing for the position of development director—in other words, she would be the public face of the unit as she endeavored to raise money on its behalf. If ever there was a job that demanded a level of professional decorum, it is the chief fundraiser.
Considering that it was an influential position, the candidate participated in multiple interviews with key campus leaders throughout the day. My committee was scheduled to interview her around 4pm. Now of course, even though it was at the end of a long, tiring day, it would have been strategic for her to maintain her energy level throughout the experience and demonstrate a continuously positive and professional attitude no matter how many people she had to meet during the hiring process. She needed to make an all-round good impression with every interviewer if she were to land the job.
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