Professionalism, a problem for some graduates

By Banning Ramirez
Flapjack Chronicle

Professionalism: A word that can be clearly defined by a dictionary, but not practiced by many. In today’s professional world, employers have become extremely picky when choosing who to employ. From critiquing you at what you wear to your interview to the way you present yourself on paper — even down to the way you can shake a hand. A first impression has been leaving so many college graduates biting the dust. So why are so many college students leaving college with a hope of career but are unable to find one?

Marissa Mourer, director of the Orientations & Preview Programs at Humboldt State University, engages her student staff in several professional trainings to get her students motivated and on a positive track to leading future HSU undergrads. She feels that strong professionalism skills are key when starting off your career in the workforce.

“Professionalism is being true to your own values while promoting the mission and values of any organization that you represent,” Mourer says. “As a member of an organization, you represent yourself as well as that organization. Reflect upon what your daily contributions have been. For example, have you been courteous and helpful to others? How will the organization be remembered based upon someone’s interaction with you?”

The same goes for 19-year old Jessica Lorge, who has recently secured a job as the counselor coordinator for the Humboldt Orientation Program.

“Professionalism means holding yourself with a certain level of proficiency,” Lorge says. “Acting professional means representing your entire agency/organization/employer and always being aware of how you are expressing yourself in the position.”

Claims have been made that on-campus staff members have recently raised concerns with the way their student leader’s have been presenting themselves: from being late to work to showing up to their job interview in – get this – sweatpants!

Some students believe that professionalism is a key skill to hold on to and maintain. Just not at every job in which you find yourself at. Katie Lowe, a 19-year old communications major, says she is happy to have landed her first job on campus.

“Different work environments call for different practices,” Lowe says. “My job is a laid back environment, but there is a certain etiquette that I have to follow with my coworkers and superiors.”

When it comes to obtaining a job, Mourer points out a few suggestions for future graduates to remember: from properly formatting a resume to establishing a good online presence. But to Mourer, most of  it all comes back to some of the basics.

“I suggest that students learn to get organized! It’s a huge step toward success and brings nearly immediate rewards,” Mourer says. “And be thankful everyday! A positive attitude and a smile make your work world bearable and your employer and coworkers will like you a lot more.”


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