Nearly everyone in today’s workforce has gunned for that big and elusive promotion at one point or another. You put in extra hours at the office, maintained a constant vigil over your phone’s email app and produced reports at a dizzying pace. Your output and email-response time are impressive. According to a survey by CareerBuilder, though, that might not have been enough to land you the promotion that you want.
The survey polled 2,000 HR and hiring managers and the results can be boiled down to one takeaway: It’s all about professionalism. Merriam-Webster defines professionalism as “the skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well.” And according to the survey, it’s a lack of professionalism — both in behavior and appearance — that most often holds employees back from job advancement.
If you are aiming for a promotion, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your reputation as a professional so you doesn’t compromise your chances.
Don’t be a grouch
According to the survey, an employee with a perpetually negative or pessimistic attitude would give 62 percent of hiring managers pause when considering him or her for a promotion. Constantly bringing a negative perspective to work conversations and situations, even if you’re just “playing devil’s advocate,” is frustrating for everyone involved. It’s fine to point out perceived problems with a meeting’s plan or timeline, for instance, but after you mention those issues, bring a few ideas to the table that would benefit the work.
Practice being cool, calm, and collected
Another 51 percent of hiring managers said they would take offense to a candidate’s use of vulgar language in the office. You might not mean any harm when you let an occasional curse word slip, but letting them fly in seemingly minor circumstances could make your bosses question whether you’d be able to handle a more pressure-filled situation. Instead of uttering a few choice words when you get frustrated in the office, take a few deep breaths to get your emotions under control and then move forward with your task.
Leave the gossip on Facebook
Gossiping in the office can sometimes be hard to avoid, but it’s in your best interest to try. Forty-four percent of hiring managers surveyed said they wouldn’t promote an employee who has a penchant for gossiping. So do what you can to keep your work conversations on work topics and get your fill of the day’s gossip on social media. And while we’re on that subject, 39 percent of managers said that they would not promote employees who browse social media at work, so limit your social-media activity to the hours outside of your normal workday.
Iron your shirt
Your appearance also plays a big role in how you are perceived as a professional. According to the survey, 43 percent of managers would think twice about promoting an employee who routinely comes into the office with wrinkled clothes or a disheveled appearance. Casual is not synonymous with sloppy, so even if your office has adopted a more casual dress code, make sure it doesn’t look like you slept in your clothes before you leave the house. As much as you may love those comfortable linen pants, if they end up looking rumpled in transit to the office, you might want to consider moving them to your weekend wardrobe.
While you work on perfecting your professionalism, learn about the smartphone habit that can make you smarter.