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Professionalism in the Workplace

Updated: Jan 29, 2020

What is professionalism and how do you show it?

Professionalism is about the way in which one conducts themselves in the workplace.  It is considered a key part of being successful in your job. Fair Training Center has further defined this term through its 4 pillars, also known as the 4 As - Ability, Action, Appearance, and Attitude.  Let’s look at how these can be translated into domestic work.

  • ABILITY refers to skills that can help you in your job; this can include cooking, housekeeping, laundry and service. Language skills (especially English, but also Cantonese) may also be important.

  • ACTION is all about what you do and how this may be seen by others.  Your verbal (spoken words) and non-verbal communication (such as facial expressions, physical presence, and body language) can be a big part of expressing yourself.  Showing initiative is also a form of action which can show your ability to be a few steps ahead, which will highlight your high level of professionalism in the eyes of an employer. 

  • Your APPEARANCE will have a big role in making a first impression.  It is important to remember to display a professional appearance when working. What you wear, whether this is clothes, jewellery, or make-up can really impact how professional you look.

  • Some words to remember relating to ATTITUDE are: positive, calm, adaptable, and confident.  These are all attributes that will help you deal professionally with the different people and different situations you might encounter.  Positive behavior and good manners are a must everyday, but will go a long way in difficult situations. 

While these are all aspects that should be practiced throughout your work, they are also important in making a good, professional first impression!

Making a professional first impression can smoothen the way for your future relationship with your employer.

Here are some tips on how you can use the 4 As to make a very good first impression: 

  • Attitude: Displaying an open, genuine smile can be a good way to show a positive attitude

  • Action: Use your body language to greet your employer – a firm handshake (but be attentive to cultural differences between employers - if they don’t seem to be going for a handshake, that is okay, just make sure you are demonstrating your engagement with them and reciprocating the greeting they extend to you in an appropriate way) while maintaining eye contact will make your employer feel that you are interested to get to know him/her. Your verbal communication will also be helpful here - speak slowly and in a clear tone. Once you have made a good first impression, you might want to consider how to develop your actions to maintain a good impression:

- Take time to understand the house rules and habits of your employer

- Be proactive - remember that it is okay to ask questions (for example, you may

want to ask your employer how they prefer to be addressed).  

  • Appearance: Ensure a professional physical appearance.  Consider the way you do your hair – having it tied back can be a good way to go.  It can also be a good idea to limit the amount of make-up and jewellery you wear. Nail polish is also something that may not look very professional so making sure you are not wearing any can be helpful.  Also try to think about the clothes you will be wearing. Lastly, having a good posture can help convey your professionalism. Try to remember to keep your shoulders back and stand straight.

  • Abilities: A good skill set to focus on in making a professional first impression is your language skills – practice your English! 

Why is professionalism important in the workplace?

Professionalism is important for many reasons.  A main benefit of professionalism is that it fosters a respectful environment.  Going about your work in a professional way will make it more likely that your employer shows you respect as they will truly value your work.  You will also feel more respect for your own work if you can take pride in it through a professional approach. Professionalism is also important because it can help create boundaries and keep your work life separated from your personal life, which can be difficult when doing domestic work.  

Domestic work will mean that you are often in very close contact with a family and it can be difficult to make clear what is appropriate.  Sometimes, working with children will mean that you encounter tough situations (for example, a child calling you ‘mum’) - in these situations, it is important to remember how to deal with this professionally and keep an open communication with your employer when responding to this.  Setting boundaries can help with this kind of situation!

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