Most learners find themselves between two identities during their graduate education. You may feel like an amateur and a professional at the same time. The defining factor here is the context of your professional experiences. It tells you why you need to develop a professional identity.
How To Develop Your Professional Identity
It is ideal to begin changing your perception and start defining yourself as a student when you are still a graduate student. If you are a history graduate or a biology graduate, you need to start looking at yourself as a historian or biologist. Such an attitude is what forms the basis of a professional identity.
Do not wait until you are ready to graduate before you begin to define your identity as a professional. You need to refine the identity that you claim to hold early enough. In some cases, it is hard for people to think about their own skills and identity.
That is why this article will help you learn how to develop your professional identity. It is a good way to become that professional that you desire to become. Here are 8 tips that will help you through the process of developing your professional identity.
1. Evaluate Your Skills
To develop your professional identity, you need to assess who you are and the things that you have in store to offer. Think of the things that you would like to do after your graduation.
To answer the above question, you need to analyze the skills that you possess. Also, look at your focus area and interest.
Using your goals, define who you would like to become in the future. Also, look at the kind of activities and skills that individuals in that niche do or have. If you already don’t possess the skills and experiences, begin to look for ways in which you can develop them.
2. Package Your Skills
At this point, you need to look at the things that will make you stand out. Think of a concise and memorable way of speaking about your professional skills.
This is the perfect time for developing your elevator speech. Due to this, you will begin to think of how you will package your skills and you may need to identify the experiences and skills that you need.
For instance, if you are interested in working with diverse groups, look for ways that will show that you are committed to your work. What words will do is only get you far and actions tend to speak louder than the words.
3. Be The Best That You Can Be
Displaying yourself as a hardworking individual at this point may have dramatic effects on your reputation. Apart from doing excellent work, individuals who work hard are normally given additional opportunities. You should always be productive and aim towards quality. It is a great step when it comes to developing your professional identity.
4. Avoid The Toxic Workplace Behaviors
Most people go wrong at this point when striving to develop their professional identity. Inconsiderate behaviors like cursing and gossiping will make you sound disrespectful, irresponsible, and immature.
It is also not recommended to perpetually check your phone during meetings. Posting inappropriate information on your Twitter and Facebook accounts can also affect your professional identity negatively.
Remember you are dealing with your future colleagues and you have to show them that you are a person that they can work with. Besides, your future employers and colleagues may search your details online and you don’t want them to come across an insulting post.
Don’t allow your future colleagues to regard you as a hard individual to work with. Build your professional identity by avoiding toxic workplace behaviors.
5. Remain Purposeful As You Network
Attend all meetings with your work done and on time. You also need to speak up and volunteer when you and also collaborate.
Always show that you would like to be there and be part of the whole thing. Regardless of the career that you plan to join in the future, getting involved and networking is highly beneficial.
This shows that the individual is collegial and wants to support his community. Also, it will help you to build highly useful skills and your future careers. It will also help you in connecting with your future colleagues.
6. Develop Communication Skills
When you send emails to your colleagues, make sure that they are professional. Before you hit on an email to send it, make sure you edit the content carefully.
There are some resources that will help you to practice and improve your communication habits such as Toastmasters. It will make sure that your message gets through in a manner that you would like it to.
7. Remain Organized In Your Speech, Workplace And Tasks
When you are organized, you will be able to do quality work and be productive. This can give you more professional opportunities. It also displays you as an individual who is on top of his responsibilities and work.
8. Dress And Behave In A Manner That Shows You As A Member Of The Team
Look upon the professionals and professors in your industry for cues. Observe their behavior and dress code. To get professional treatment, professional identity calls for looking and acting the part.
Think of mentoring and teaching undergrads? Are you appearing as if you are unrecognizable from them? If so, the others will treat you more as a student and not a professional.
If you read the above suggestions on developing a professional identity, you will always discover that most of them overlap. Therefore, as you work on one of them, the others are being developed and used.
Remember that as you progress to your goal, you should also remain focused on both your education and actions. Learn to believe in yourself, behave like a professional, make a positive identity, and develop your networks. All these things will go a long way to help you develop a professional identity.