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How To Develop A More Rounded Professional Presence

When you think of a modern-day professional, what images come to mind? Is it an entrepreneur who regularly posts on sites like LinkedIn or runs a startup from a serviced office? Is it someone who may act as a consultant after years of experience in a given industry? Could it be people at the top of their game, like professional movie directors?

Well, all of this counts, of course. A professional can be anyone who takes their job role seriously, or endeavours to chart new waters and try to make a business succeed from scratch. Yet in all of the self-help advice, the continual discussion about “hustle culture” and how to “make it,” there’s a fair amount of nuance lost.

Sure, hard work, motivation and inspiration are essential utilities, but they only get us so far. After all, hard work without correct orientation can be wasted. So, let’s discuss how to become a more rounded professional, as opposed to the cardboard cut-out idea that those prior images can represent. This might help you breathe life into your career path, or even inspire you towards taking a new journey:

A Healthy Interest In Your Field

There are so many “professional” and “hustler” hacks out there to squeeze more productivity out of your workday, to dominate that meeting, to negotiate the best deal ever. You might find value in those tips, and if you do, more power to you. That being said, sometimes a simple outlook is the best and most dependable.

It’s interesting how many of these online entrepreneurs fail to encourage you to nurture a healthy interest in your field. It’s not always about how much you can achieve or how many flags you can plant around the industry, but how the field enriches you, how up-to-date you are with it, your respect for others in the space, and your intent to contribute.

Think of an individual who works at a literary publishing house that has zero interest in literature. Will they be interested in working hard and doing well for the firm? Possibly, but not always. Moreover, many fields are interesting, even if it doesn’t seem so. For example, even working in accounting, long considered to be the most “boring field” isn’t boring at all. Learning to manage assets, process a merger, set reliable payroll, these practices take a diligent hand, and finding the interest in your space makes coming to work so much more passionate. After all, why bother going for a promotion in a field you barely care about?

Communication Skills

The truth is that only a few of us have the natural, raw talent of connecting in conversation, of giving as much as you get, of being charming and professional at the same time. For others, it’s a learned skill. But just like driving a car, you can learn it, and the practice can serve you well.

The first place to start is active listening. Making sure you really engage with whoever is talking to you not only ingratiates you with others, but it helps you truly see past what they’re trying to say. Here you can not only consider how to respond more naturally but determine if that person is right for you, be that as a business partner or in the candidate pool you’re hiring from.

Moreover, investing in your public speaking skills can help you hold a room well, present an idea confidently, or even speak publicly in a marketing context. This last point is often a great fear of many professionals, so imagine how well you’d distinguish yourself if you just went for it.

Focus On Skills Outside Of Your Professional Capacity

It might seem as though throwing your weight into your professional career, only specializing in that direction, and never compromising is the way forward. But is that always the best option? Perhaps. But by doing that, you may ignore many skills that can apply universally, that round you off as a person, and that help you brace for the future challenges of your position.

For example, a business leader could benefit tremendously by investing themselves in a cybersecurity course or even learning the beginnings of programming. This could help them react more quickly and understand the advice of their tech professionals if suffer a business difficulty. It may enable them to curate a vision for a product that bakes security from the top down. Experts and collaboration are key of course, and you don’t need to be proficient in that skill, but investing in it can give you more room to manoeuvre.

In some cases, skills are their rewards. Taking a CPR certification could, quite simply, help you save someone’s life in the office. Most people, if they had to select that or promotion (in some strange hypothetical scenario), would no doubt choose the former. It’s just more important than anything. As you can see, sometimes skills are rewarding in their own right, not because you get to hustle or gun for that promotion. Thinking this way also adds more of a richness to your professional development, because it will be inspired by your passions.

Personal Branding

It’s not easy to brand yourself. Most people find it difficult to explain who they are and what they do, and tend to rely on formulaic language in donig so. That’s why LinkedIn bios have more obviously AI-written content in them than ever before. We can hardly blame those individuals.

For that reason, learning to brand yourself capably is not only a great step forward, but helps you learn a skill that you may have had distaste for until this moment. Having some professional headshots made can last you a good ten years, and can be used in your resume to your online profile.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to share constant work updates on sites like LinkedIn either. You can still network and keep your professional life off those platforms, and in many cases, that’s the healthiest option.

Registering a helpful professional domain name that corresponds to your name and field can be cheap, and also give you a means of setting up a templated website like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. That way, you can easily post your public resume (with personal data omitted), and a portfolio with a password you can use to refer to those hiring for certain positions.

Little preparations like this can help you seem more unique, and more interesting than the standard PDF CV most people turn in. As you can see, there are ways to present yourself other than falling into constant algorithmic updates. 

Adaptability

If there’s one talent that will last you the longest amount of time in any professional space, it’s the ability to remain adaptable. If you move elsewhere without a job lined up, it’s the ability to take a job you’re overqualified for while making ends meet for a little while.

It’s in having the strength to report harassment at work even if that means you’re ousted in that professional space, because it’s right to do so. It’s about not being afraid to disagree with others while working alongside them. Moreover, it’s about caring about whatever you do, from sweeping the corridors as a janitor to leading a full department into a product launch.

Over time, the more you learn and the more experience you have, the more adaptable you become. All you need to gather those virtues is to pay attention, and to give the best of yourself.

With this advice, we hope you have enjoyed a less common, but more pressing perspective on what a rounded individual looks like. Do you agree, disagree, or have more to add? Please let us know!

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