Professionalism at work in no way means leaving your personality at the door. Being able to let your unique qualities shine in the office oftentimes makes for a less intense work space and employers typically want employees to show their personalities even before being hired. After all, no one wants to hire someone robotic.
Here are three tips you can use to be yourself at work, but still maintain professionalism:
1. Don't be afraid to share your interests
Employers are always interested in what employees do outside of work and want to see that they are well-rounded individuals beyond the office. One way to show your colleagues that you have a life after hours is to maintain a professional online identity, where you can share events and interests through photos and commentary.
If you are going on an exciting trip for the holidays, skydiving this weekend, or starting ballroom dance classes, share that through your personal social network pages in a professional manner. Your employer will be excited to see that you bring some kind of diversity to the company.
2. Give your input, but to a certain extent
Sharing your opinions and values is important because it shows that you have a voice and it's a big part of what makes you the person you are. Don't be shy to share your thoughts at work, whether it be about a new movie that recently came out or about more serious things like the increase in college tuition.
It is however important to be professional in sharing your opinions by having calm discussions without letting the conversation get confrontational. Having level-headed discussions can help avoid conflict when sharing opinions and still allow you to have a say in things.
3. Take an interest in the identities of the people around you
It is important that you take into account that you work alongside other people with interests and opinions too. Usually if you take an interest in their lives they will do the same to you. Actively get to know the people you work with, you just might learn a lot from them.
Always keep in mind that professionalism doesn't mean taking away your unique identity. Professionalism is about using your personal identity to become an asset to your work environment.