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Professionalism and Career Networking

Authors: Susan S. Stratton

Leading Edge Mentoring

Dorothy I. Mitstifer
Kappa Omicron Nu

Characteristics of a Profession
Value Orientation to Service for the Welfare of Society

Abstract Knowledge Used, Adaptably & Skillfully, In the Area of Service

Autonomy in Decision-Making & Action Relative to Service

Six Characteristics of Professional Style







Competence is a Given!

Ethical Style

Deals honestly with others Maintains confidentiality regarding professional matters. Recognizes professional biases and bases attitude and action upon a sound rationale. Believes that others recognize the stature of a professional.

Does not misrepresent personal qualifications. Faces self honestly.

Altruistic Style

Behaves unselfishly Devotes practice to the interests of others. Demonstrates motives for professional practice that are NOT selfish Shows respect for others.

Shows positive attitude toward co-workers, children, adults, and community members.

True North

Responsible Style

Promises only what can be delivered.

Thinks before reacting.

Follows through on commitments. Delivers on time. Says no without guilt. Is accountable for own actions.

Foresees possible outcomes of professional actions. Makes decisions based on possibilities. Considers the best interest of the client.

Supports the basic tenets of the profession.

Evaluates his/her professional practice.

Develops a philosophy and sound rationale for professional practice.

Confronts discrepancies between intentions and actions. Assesses own contribution realistically.

Theoretical Style
Practices critical thinking. Contributes to knowledge base. Shows appreciation for
scholarship, research and theory. Presents the theoretical foundation of ideas and actions. Evaluates own professional practice in light of new conditions and knowledge.

Committed Style
Spends time beyond the call of duty. Belongs to and takes an active part in
professional organizations. Identifies with the profession both when it is praised and criticized. Articulates the professions philosophy and practice to the public.

Intellectual Style

Reads current journals.

Keep abreast of technical advances. Reads about own and related professions and specialties.

Interacts with colleagues to gain new perspectives.

Strives toward selfimprovement.

Participates in conferences. Enrolls in courses regularly.

Develops performance skills.

Achieving Professionalism
Exhibit the three characteristics of a profession. Participate in a unified professional membership.

Identify and eliminate anti-professional


A professional will pay dues out of their own pocket to organizations for the privilege of being a practicing professional. A professional organization is the cooperative agency through which the profession is advanced.

Political activism and increased visibility as professionals will be required to create and sustain positive professional advancement.

Stages of Development of a Professional



Meszaros & Braun, 1980


Reflection & Action Planning

What have I learned that I can put to immediate

use? What do I want to do in the future to improve my professional style?

Notice your own actions and those of others that exhibit that element of, or lack of, professionalism. Carefully evaluate your own actions and how they relate to your internal beliefs and assumptions. Challenge whether the belief or assumption is valid. Create an action plan to work on bringing more coherence between actions and beliefs, creating greater integrity and authenticity.

Optional Follow-up Activity

Make an appointment with a professional to learn more about the career you seek.

What are the satisfactions you derive from your practice? How have you sought to increase your effectiveness as a professional? Can you describe an ethical problem that you have faced? How have you dealt with it? What advice do you have for me to ensure my development as a professional?

Share your findings at a follow-up chapter meeting.

Share the responses to the interview questions. What was the most important thing you learned? As a group, summarize the feedback and write an article for the Kappa Omicron Nu Chapter Newsletter.