Statement on Professionalism

The label “unprofessional” is often used in discriminatory ways through judgements made in interviews, workplace practices and promotional reviews. These judgements often focus on personal features such as dress codes, hairstyles and textures, or tone of voice and accents rather than requirements to successfully complete work duties as assigned.

It is our hope to foster awareness and intentionality about the term “professionalism” within our campus community and beyond.

As a Career Center, we commit to an ongoing examination of how we discuss professionalism and professional behavior, using a self-critical lens to ensure that we inclusively educate about appropriate workplace behaviors and mindsets. We also commit to supporting students as they explore the nuances of professionalism and as they build their knowledge of the workplace including dress codes, hours of operations, mental health concerns, wage disparities and work-life balance.

Employer & Partner Recommendations

We encourage employers to inclusively define professionalism and its standards in their line of work. Our employer partners should be able to articulate how individuals from all backgrounds can successfully meet these expectations.

We ask that employer partners provide specific and constructive feedback to our student and alumni employees about their behaviors. To further promote equity in the workplace, we also encourage employers to critically reflect on whether each member of their organization is being provided feedback in a manner that is equitable and does not perpetuate stereotypes or systemic biases.

Alumni & Student Resources

Suffolk’s Career Center supports students as they explore their knowledge of dress codes, hours of operation, mental health concerns, wage disparities, work-life balance and communication styles of different industries and organizations.

Career Center staff are committed to educating students and alumni about how the words “professional” and “unprofessional” may be used to reinforce systemic biases. Students and alumni who experience these biases can partner with the Career Center to find ways to advocate for themselves and educate their employers.

We know that employers value students who take initiative, are diligent and can add value to the workplace. We work with students to explore their values and build the confidence needed to navigate their career choices. Through a combination of our center’s programs and resources, we support students as they build skills in the following areas:

  • Written and Oral Communication
  • Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
  • Advocacy for Inclusive and Equitable Workplaces
  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Relationship Management and Networking
  • Time Management & Organization

We understand that every student is uniquely able to build their own path and change their minds as they thrive in their academic and personal lives. We hope that students will feel empowered to find career paths that allow them to make meaning and express themselves through their work.

Discover Career Resources

Wherever you are headed professionally, we can help you get there. Connect with career resources and tools to start putting your degree to work.

Learn more about the Career Center’s Resources