Advancing in your career or landing a new job has a lot to do with how you portray yourself to a hiring manager or your colleagues. Professionalism should be top of mind with everything you do and say. After hiring hundreds of dietitians, our recruiters have seen some not-so-professional faux pas. We rounded up the top eight professionalism blunders to avoid so you can keep it classy in the workplace.
Dietitians want to do it all, but there are only so many hours in the day. Before committing to another job, committee, project, or side gig, take an honest inventory of the time you can realistically spend. Do you truly have the time to do it justice? If not, it’s not fair to anyone (including yourself) to commit. Respond with a guilt-free “no” and reconsider when you have more bandwidth.
If you’re not interested, just say so.
Ghosting isn’t cool. It’s bad behavior when applying to jobs or when others are counting on your participation. For the record, going radio silent doesn’t equate to saying “no.” If things have changed and you are no longer interested in a job, can’t honor a commitment, or attend an event, just say so. Don’t leave the other party hanging or trying to guess what you’re thinking.
Spelling and grammatical errors.
Spell check is your friend. Be sure to proofread emails, your resume, cover letter, and any other professional correspondence before you send it. Keep slang out of the mix – all written and verbal messages should be polite, direct, and succinct.
Return phone calls and emails in a timely manner.
See #2 for an explanation of what to do when you just need to say “no.” Phone calls and emails should ideally be returned within one business day. If you are operating in a professional setting and these are your primary forms of communication, not responding is just holding up the show. And in a fast-paced environment, silence can be interpreted as disinterest. The result – you’ll miss out on opportunities.
Use a professional email address.
Speaking of email, think about your email address. It should be something professional (firstname.lastname@example.org). Use caution with university-based emails. This is a dead giveaway that you are a new grad, which may put you at a disadvantage when applying for jobs. And if your email address is b00tyliciousRD@gmail.com, well, just don’t.
Do you have other job interviews lined up? What are your salary and compensation requirements? Are you looking for mileage or licensure reimbursement? Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. If you are applying for a job – especially in an extremely competitive market – lay it all out on the table. Hiding important details will lead to unhappy surprises and dissatisfaction on everyone’s part. Honesty is the best policy. Playing coy will get you nowhere in a professional environment.
Backing out unexpectedly.
If you tend to overcommit yourself then panic the day before a new job or project begins, it’s time to reassess your availability. (See #1 on the list to overcome overcommitting.) When you say “yes,” that means other people are counting on you to follow-through. Yes, sometimes unexpected events happen, and plans change without warning. But be considerate of others when you decide what you can reasonably accomplish or commit to. When you unexpectedly cancel commitments, you are not only leaving people high and dry, you have also taken away that opportunity from someone else.
Show me the money.
Asking about compensation is a delicate subject. While we are not suggesting you should never ask about or negotiate compensation (you definitely should), it’s a turnoff when you’re only focused on how much money you’ll earn. Hiring managers are looking for the best candidate that will be a good fit for the position. Likewise, you want a job that will be challenging and fulfilling. Compensation is just once piece of the puzzle. So, ask about it, but wait for the right moment and do it tactfully.
Sara Glanz, MS, RD, LD, CNSC worked as a traveling dietitian for Dietitians On Demand for two years before joining the team as the corporate dietitian. In this role, she has championed the continuing education program to empower dietitians everywhere to achieve their professional goals.
Dietitians On Demand is a nationwide staffing and recruiting company for registered dietitians, specializing in short-term, temporary and permanent-hire positions in acute care, long term care and food service positions. We’re dedicated to dietitians and helping them enhance their practice and excel in the workplace. Check out our job openings, request your coverage, or visit our store today!