Be Professional Without Losing Your Personality


Guest post by Erin Palmer

After four or more years of casual college life, transitioning to the corporate world can come as a shock to many graduates. The dress code is less comfortable, the responsibilities are diverse and the pressure to make a good impression can stifle your personality to the point where you don’t even recognize yourself. While it is important to be professional at work, it doesn’t mean hiding who you really are. It takes all kinds of personalities to make a business run, so read on to find out how to be yourself and make a good impression. Use your distinctive personality to your advantage.

Your Personality Can Help You Land a Job
Different jobs require different personality traits, but you don’t need to undergo a chameleon-like transformation to land one. Find out what jobs fit your personality best, and don’t force yourself to hide behind a different persona. For example, a retail hiring manager will want an outgoing, friendly person to wait on customers and sell merchandise. If you’re not into dealing with the public, why fake it? Even if you do get the job, you probably won’t enjoy it and chances are that you won’t last long.

Look for positions that suit you, and express your personality naturally. You’ll be more relaxed in the interview, which is always a good thing. Remember, if you are confident, friendly and honest, you can stand out from the competition and land the job you truly want.

Your Personality Can Help You Fit In and Express Your Great Ideas
Once you start on your new career, take some time to observe your surroundings. Keep your eyes and ears open, watching and listening before making your move. Remember, survival of the fittest applies everywhere.

Workplace survival tips for recent college graduates:
• Get to know the company culture, inside and out.
• Avoid breaking unwritten rules. Every workplace has them; so don’t eat the break room donuts until you’re sure it’s acceptable.
• Be professional, friendly and respectful to everyone you meet, from the company president all the way down the corporate ladder.
• Don’t leave your personality at home. You were hired because of your personal attributes, so let them shine!

When making contributions to the team, let your personality work in your favor. Your fresh perspective is a positive thing, as long as you deliver your opinions professionally and respect those who disagree. Maintain a balance between expressing your ideas and being a “know-it-all.” And remember, the way you deal with criticism (whether you’re giving or receiving it) will tell your co-workers a lot about you. It’s all about building a positive personal brand.

Build a Brand Based On Your Personality
Everyone talks about branding. Whether you’re a laundry detergent or a young professional, it’s important to present an authentic message to the world. Spend some time thinking about your strongest skills, personality traits, and how you’re different. Do you pick up new software applications quickly? Are you a great problem-solver? Do you have a knack for training dogs, which equates to possessing a ton of patience?

Decide what you want people to think of when they hear your name: that’s your personal brand. Learn how to express it in writing, for professional social networks and resumes, and in conversation. You never know when or where you’ll strike up a conversation with the person who turns out to be your next boss.

Personality plus professionalism equals success at work. Show off who you really are. You’ll make a great impression and build your personal brand. When you don’t have to suppress your personality, you’ll enjoy your job even more!

20120528-202036.jpg About Erin: Erin Palmer is a contributor to U.S News University Directory a leading resource for locating online bachelor’s degrees and masters programs from accredited colleges. The directory also offers a growing collection of education articles and career videos for your review. For more information please visit


3 thoughts on “Be Professional Without Losing Your Personality

  1. I wish there was a way to get through to the management today, that they are losing business, not for the product, or the customer lack of loyalty, but for the “used car salesman” persona. I cannot tell you how many eyes have rolled behind my manager’s back as he think he is being funny, and everyone else but him sees him being tacky. I have tried to point out to him that this is part of his issue, but he refuses to believe it. Ron Burgundy persona or any of Jim Carey’s personas are not professional, and does the EXACT opposite of what they are trying to accomplish. I guess you can’t fix tacky.


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