The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
It is often assumed that when you go to work, you know what you are doing. You are expected to have a specific skill set that renders you to be able to function in public, and more specifically, in a setting at work. High school does not really teach you these readiness skills, but it is expected as something you pick up on your own. These skills may be picked up from your parents helping you to become organized, such as having a pencil, paper, a bookbag, and some folders to organize yourself. These are organizational and readiness skills.
If you possess readiness skills, you are assumed to be competent to work in any office setting. They are the most basic skills you can possess as a human being to show that you have some type of organizational skills to function as a worker.
These skills include attendance, quality of work, time management, communication, effort, and professionalism. These skills all entwine and compliment each other.
In terms of attendance, as Woody Allen said, “90% of success is showing up.” This is a given. If you are not there, you are not in attendance, and therefore absent to perform your duties. If you are tardy and always late, this is also a strike on your attendance record. For any job, you are expected to show up at a specified time and be on time and ready to work.
One of the most important aspects about you is your time management. You will have to meet deadlines, produce quality work in a certain amount of time, and you will be expected to give estimates and deliver based on the times you give. Ensure that you are not doing work at the last minute. Prepare yourself for any projects you have ahead of time, and make sure that you have a good handle on your time management.
One of the most complicated thing for a majority of people to understand is communication. Communication is the key to everything. It is the operation, function, and blood of how all things are understood and actually get done. Communication can either make or break you or make or break an entire business.
Communication skills involves good listening, writing, speaking, and reading. If you possess all four of these qualities, you are a very marketable employee. Communication in business is the most essential skill you can develop. It is the most sought after skill by all corporations. If you can communicate well enough to speak to clients on the phone or present yourself as a public speaker in front of potential investors or businesspeople, you have already made yourself in-demand.
Language is also a major part of communication. Make sure you speak in a professional manner. Cursing should never be done in the workplace, whether speaking, presenting, or through email. Do not take shortcuts when spelling or speaking. When speaking, make sure you are clear, direct, and to the point. You do not have to be a robot to communicate, but make sure you are respectful of everyone that you work with. Foul language does not belong in the workplace, and hopefully not in your home, either.
Quality of Work
Your quality of work states a lot about you. If you care about what you do, your work should be easily understandable, organized, and well enough to present to anyone. If you are passionate about what you do, respect your company, and have a set of standards, your work will show it. If you are bored, don’t care, or just bad at what you do, your work will reflect everything. Remember, as you progress in your job or career, you can build up a portfolio of your work, so you will always want to make sure you are producing high quality work that represents who you are and what you can do.
Effort compliments your quality of work. How much effort and time you put into anything you do will always show. Your efforts must be applied. After all, you could stay late after work and spend hours getting nothing done, or you could spend hours getting everything done. Effort is something that hardly ever goes unnoticed, especially by a good manager or CEO.
Professionalism is your behavior, attitude, and personal presentation of yourself. It is who you are and who you establish yourself to be as a professional at work.
Wearing a t-shirt and jeans or wearing a suit and tie to work can change dramatically how others see you. If your desk is organized or a mess, others will immediately make judgements about you. How you type your emails, write business letters, or even talk to your co-workers and your boss will identify who you are as a professional.
When you go to work, you are a professional and you must continue that image until the very minute you leave work. After that, when you get home, you are welcome to remove your clothes and hang out in your underwear.
Having these readiness skills are a basic necessity of being a professional in the workplace and can always be improved.
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Matthew Gates is a freelance web designer and currently runs Confessions of the Professions.