Success: It’s How You Present Yourself

Jeanette Falotico, Staff Writer

On Jan. 28, Brookdale’s Career & Leadership Development team, in partnership with United Teletech Financial, hosted an event via Zoom titled “Professionalism: The Sure Fire Way To Succeed In Your Career.” The webinar, attended by 15 students, examined the idea of professionalism and offered ways for students to succeed in the pursuit of their careers.

Professionalism “is how you show up. It’s what you bring to the table. It’s how you present yourself…It’s “coming in with a positive attitude,” said Connie Cinko, director of talent and organizational development at United Teletech Financial.

Students need to “understand the importance of professionalism and the role it plays in our personal lives, in our day-to-day activities, in your student life and in all of our careers,” said Adina Abercrombie, business development manager and certified credit union financial counselor at United Teletech Financial.

“How can we make the most of our everyday skill sets?” Abercrombie asked.

It’s important to understand that your current role as a clerk or a cashier offers an incredible “opportunity to grow and learn,” Cinko said.

Students should take “advantage of learning” opportunities and work on developing a “strong work ethic,” Cinko said. “Always showing that interest, or learning and being willing to help out,” she said, noting that this “can go so far for you.”

Remember, “your ability to communicate” is so important, Cinko said. Think about it, “are you aware of how people are reading you? Do you know if you’re coming across in a manner in which someone wants to have a conversation with you?”

“You never know who you are going to interact with,” and “where these entry roles in life are going to take you next,” Cinko said.

The webinar “helped with some general professional tips…I also learned that every organization could have their own definition of professionalism; it will depend on the person getting hired to know them and put them in practice,” said Taiphane Orange, an 18-year-old political science major.

“Staying on top of your industry or your field of study” is important too, Abercrombie said. Joining relevant industry associations as a student “allows you to expand your knowledge of the field so that if you ever get in front of someone for an interview, you can speak to that experience,” she said.

With everything currently being virtual, Cinko said it is important for students to prepare for online career days as they would an in-person opportunity. “It should be very similar to if you were going to be walking into the auditorium,” she said. “Be prepared in advance of who’s going to be at that career day and do your homework.” Cinko suggests students know something about the organizations and individuals that might meet at such events.

“Consider your posture. Are you slumped back in a chair, or are you excited to be part of the conversation?” Cinko said students want to make an excellent first impression. “You want to be able to be that different person” that they remember.

“Come dressed as if you were to actually go to the auditorium for that interview,” she said. “I know that a lot of organizations may not be as formal now because people are working from home, but I don’t think that’s a reason you shouldn’t dress for success.” Always have a pad, take notes, ask questions and “follow up with a thank you note,” Cinko said.

When writing your resume, positioning the experience of distance learning is essential “if you’ve been studying in this environment,” you should “highlight a skill set you have actually developed on your resume,” said Jennifer Winn, hourly career services representative, at Brookdale Community College. “That’s something we can help you with when you devise your resume; just contact our office.”

“I think that’s very important because this is going to be a way of living moving forward,” Cinko said. “I think we’re going to see a lot of opportunity in this arena… The more comfortable you are with this interaction if it’s Zoom, Teams, WebEx, be familiar and be comfortable.”

“You should be able to highlight that kind of accomplishment that you’ve been able to achieve while studying from home and doing this distance learning,” Cinko said. “I also think that if you’ve been involved with any kind of committees…where you’ve been orchestrating the meetings and getting information out, that’s great stuff to highlight because there’s a lot of skill set in that,” Cinko said.

Want to hear more? Click here for access to the full webinar.

Need help with your resume? Contact Career & Leadership Development.