Three Critical Components of Professional Development

Three Critical Components of Professional Development

Allen Plunkett, President & CEO of Phoenix Staff

One of our lead recruiters here at Phoenix Staff recently attended a full day of motivational seminars that included former President and COO of Microsoft, Rick Belluzzo. These seminars inspired Holly to share with us the three critical components of professional development: having a positive attitude, being a person of integrity, and the importance of building a professional network.


1. Maintain a Positive Attitude

A positive attitude enables you to be flexible, and will give you the patience required in your job search and ultimately, your career. As you engage in a job search, you will ultimately be attending networking events and interviewing. Being known for having a positive, upbeat personality “off the clock” will make you a much more attractive potential employee when the time comes to submit your resume.

Rule of thumb: Great companies hire for a strong cultural fit, and nobody wants their culture to be “grumpy.”


2. Be known as a person of integrity

In life, there are two rules for dealing well with people:

  • Golden Rule: Treat others as you would want to be treated
  • Silver Rule: Treat others as they want to be treated

Although other people may not hold themselves to these standards, and it’s tempting to sink to their level, remember to think long-term; you want to be known as a person of integrity, and treating others well, regardless of the circumstance, will help you do just that.

These days, another important facet of your integrity has to do with your online presence. Just as you would never go to an interview sloppily dressed, teeth unbrushed, or in some other state of disarray, you don’t want to flaunt your unprofessionalism online.

Things to keep offline:

  • Groups that use profanity and display negative associations
  • Religious or political preferences
  • Negative comments about your work environment, past or present; you run a high risk of that negative press getting back to your boss or potential boss

Rule of thumb:  Don’t post anything on the internet that you wouldn’t want your mother to hear about – she will find out.


3. Building Your Network

You must be intentional about building your professional network. Reach out to groups at local universities (or your alma mater), professors, area companies, and recruiters for opportunities you may not know about. Attend industry meet-up groups in your area to meet up-and-coming professionals and keep informed about the latest trends.

Online social media outlets can be great tools for both personal and professional gain, or they can be detrimental to your job search. Use these profiles to your advantage and put your best professional foot forward online. Your network can serve as an unofficial reference. As recruiters, we often search for a candidate on LinkedIn and Facebook to see if we have mutual acquaintances, and we will often verify your skills with those “in common connections.”

Rule of thumb: Fair or not, nepotism is alive and well; use it to your advantage.


Phoenix Staff wants you to succeed whether or not you utilize our professional recruiting services, which is why we share this information. We always seek out opportunities to help further our own knowledge – as we see value, we will pass along the lessons learned.

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