How to become a better professional?

pro·fes·sion·al   /prəˈfɛʃ(ə)n(ə)l/
noun: a person competent or skilled in a particular activity.

You are a professional if you are a member of a vocation or occupation that has specialised education, knowledge, skills or experience, usually with tertiary qualifications and industry experience.

You are a professional if you are:

  • highly educated in a specific field, with specialist training and qualifications, and considerable experience in the field
  • an expert and have specialised skills and knowledge, a master in a specific field
  • engaged in intellectually challenging and creative work (more mental than physical)
  • highly competent in a particular activity or process, such as problem solving
  • known for producing high quality work, interested in doing a job well, commitment to performing at the highest level
  • have a duty of care to your client, employer and the community
  • engaged in constant learning and improvement and moving towards mastery in your specific field.

Another means of defining a professional could be that you get paid for your specialised knowledge to do a specific job or role – either as an employee or as a consultant.

There is also an element of craftsmanship in being a professional – you develop your knowledge of principles, patterns and practices and heuristics (experienced based techniques for problem solving) and assimilate knowledge by practice over an extended period of time.

When you are a professional, others seek you out for your particular expertise in a field or discipline. And you can achieve career advancement to a well paid position of authority.

Most of us go to work in order to perform tasks in return for some mix of money, status, recognition and job satisfaction.

You may be lucky enough to have a job that allows you to contribute to a greater good; you may enjoy the work itself and the company of your colleagues and stakeholders you work with. You may also choose a particular job because it has the potential to satisfy your career objectives.

You don’t become a professional by calling yourself one; … you also have to behave like one!

» Think about how you can become a better professional

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