Do you sometimes wonder what is missing when it comes to your unsuccessful job search? You feel like you’ve set yourself up to do well and to be a top contender for each position that you’ve had on the radar, yet there seems to be something lacking, an undercurrent of being unprepared on some level. You have a legit resume in place and backing documents such as a cover letter and list of references that applaud your achievements and list all of the reasons why you would make a great employee. You have given your interview wardrobe a complete overhaul and chosen only the sharpest and most professional options.

However, despite your best efforts, there seems to be an angle that you are overlooking in how you present yourself as a potential candidate. Could it be, however, that your sense of professionalism goes no farther than your closet doors? Do you present yourself and speak in a manner than matches that of your new outfit? Many job seekers who are putting themselves out there, time and again, in pursuit of a bigger and better job title are failing to see that they lack professional integrity.

There is, of course, always honor in being true to yourself. No one wants to hire someone who is a complete fake, someone who is playing a part and disguising who they really are behind their fancy job title. However, there is a way in which to be the most professional version of yourself so that you can become a better employee without losing your own personal flair. In addition to dressing the part and presenting yourself in a professional manner on the outside, you must also make changes within.

Being forthright and tactful is a huge part of learning to be professional in your job pursuits. The ability to give honest feedback while remaining positive and respectful is an art that must be learned by all of those who wish to succeed in their careers. This does not mean that you cower down to a coworker’s opinion or allow your boss to trample all over you and your ideas. It does mean, however, that you learn to work well alongside other people and tolerate their different points of view without losing your temper and putting your job at risk.

Learning to carry a sense of professionalism with you into your job interview or into your first day at the job means that you have to respond appropriately and calmly to whatever circumstances may take you by surprise. If you make a mistake, then you must learn how to own that mistake and take responsibility for the way in which your mistakes may have adversely affected others. When you have conquered the concept of how to work well with other people, then you have claimed victory over your selfishness and allowed yourself to be a reliable and dependable employee who will stand strong under pressure and get the job done, even in the face of adversity.

Professionalism and character go hand in hand, and you want to prove to your potential employer that you are a well-developed candidate who is ready to take on any and all challenges that a new position will bring! Begin taking steps toward a new sense of professionalism that goes beyond your wardrobe and settles deep within.