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Leadership, Professionalism, and Etiquette in the Workplace

So you successfully nailed the interview and were offered the internship or job you were looking for?  Its day one on the new job and you want to make a good first, and lasting, impression. You can help demonstrate your value to a potential employer or supervisor by being professional at all times and following a few simple etiquette workplace rules.

  • Workplace Etiquette: The basics

    Factors to Consider

    Interactions with supervisors and co-workers

    • Recognizing your own leadership style, work ethic and values
    • How do these impact and shape who you are?
    • What if you work in an environment with others who have different workplace values and ethics?
    • Constantly monitoring your own actions and behaviors 
    • Remember your current work ethic, attitude, or work accomplishments can come into play down the road (in a positive or negative way), especially when it comes to asking for references and letters of recommendation 


    • Defining effective communication in the context of your worksite
    • How do you communicate with supervisor or co-workers who may have different personalities, preferences, values and work ethic?
    • Using technology for personal use on the job (texting, smart phones, checking personal email or social media accounts, making calls): is it allowed? Are there policies set in place for this?
    • Appropriate means of communication: not using social media language in official business communications, sending emails with effective subject lines, when to be concise and when to be detailed
    • Meetings: What is the pre-established order and agenda for meetings? How do you, in your new position, fit into the workplace meeting?  When is it appropriate to talk, bring up new ideas, or add to the discussion? 
    • Social media policies: Be careful that your personal life and online communications don’t impact your role in the workplace  

    Rules and regulations

    • Are there pre-established rules, norms or policies in your workplace?
    • Does the (place of business) offer a training or orientation for new employees on company policies and appropriate workplace behavior? 
    • What workplace traits, characteristics and behaviors does your supervisor expect and appreciate in the workplace?  What does the supervisor not tolerate or expect to see in the workplace?   

    Translate your inherent and transferable skills in the workplace 

    Skills the Career Center hears employers say they are most looking for in candidates:

    • Communication (oral, written and computer)
    • Interpersonal abilities
    • Problem solving and delegation
    • Analytical thinking
    • Supervision and management
    • Researching and planning 
    • Valuing and organizing
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Teamwork and flexibility
    • Cultural awareness and sensitivity 
    • Technical skills: tools, computers, databases, software

When in the workplace, every communication, action, or inaction can say a lot about you. Please make sure that you have done your homework on what is the appropriate standard of behavior for your worksite and that you are constantly monitoring your own professionalism.