The Sign of a Positive Work Ethic
You demonstrate your work ethic in many ways – in your handshake, appearance, or even your approach to difficult situations. But another – and arguably, one of the most important – indications of work ethic comes across in completed staff work. That is, in sales reports, proposals, research papers, technical documents, or any other form of written material.
Whether prepared electronically or in print on paper, your written material is a direct reflection of your work ethic. Almost naturally, your colleagues will assign values according to the manner in which your work is presented. That’s why it’s essential that your written material arrive clean, checked, and completed.
Here’s what I mean by this:
- The pages are clean. That stamp of your coffee mug ring may look authentic when advertising for organic coffee beans, but keep the food and drink away from the desk so that readers will take your work seriously.
- The copy is uniform and consistent. Your report should have no more than two fonts throughout. Use more and you’ll distract the reader from what’s really important: the content.
- The prose is checked for spelling, punctuation, grammar, and correct usage. Take extra time to fix any errors. If you’re unsure, have a second pair of eyes do the proofreading. Others will respect your work more if they don’t have to overcome these obstacles.
- The sentence structure reads well and the messages are clear and understood (by the reader). Is every part of your report coming across the way in which you intended? For example, “producing independent leads” is different than saying, “independent lead production.” Having someone else read your document can also be helpful here.
- The information is correct and reflects thorough research. The Internet is a great place to search for information, but never assume that everything you find is accurate. Opt for reliable websites (EPA.gov rather than IKnowAWholeLotAboutEnvironmentalStuff.com, for example) and list your sources.
- The layout is easy to read and presents well to the eyes. Shorter paragraphs are easier to digest than longer ones. Using bullet points, italicized words, and boldface type can also help with reading, especially in electronic communication. Notice we’ve used this here.
- Binding is neat and secure. Professional binding is extremely affordable and can be done at your nearest office supply center. Spend the extra time and money, and you’ll project a professional image that gets you and your work noticed.
- The submission meets, or precedes, the deadline. Scheduling staff work can be time-consuming for your colleagues. When your written material shows up on time, it signals that you not only take your time seriously; you take theirs seriously, too.
With today’s competitive professional environment, it’s more important than ever to project a positive work ethic through your written materials. By following these protocols, you can ensure that your work product serves as an extension of you by reflecting your positive professional values.
(c) Sylvia Henderson. All rights reserved.