While everyone knows that it’s important to show professionalism at work, this word has many different connotations and meanings. If you’re looking to improve your standing in the workplace or seek employees for your business that are professional, here are a few characteristics that make up this general term.

Individuals can be professional in any job. While prestigious jobs like doctors, lawyers and business owners are often described as the professions, anyone in any career can act professionally and unprofessionally. One of the most important traits of being a professional is time management. Whether you’re running the meeting or just starting at a job, be sure to not just show up on time or a few minutes late, but try to make it to every meeting ahead of schedule. Arriving at meetings a few minutes ahead of time, or even earlier if you’re running the meeting, is a great way to show how serious and dedicated you are to your work.

Moody, irritable or lazy behavior is very unprofessional in any workplace. When you choose to act with professionalism, you avoid unnecessary gossip and unpredictable emotional outbursts. Co-workers may get on your nerves and your job may be stressful, but you need to be able to regulate your emotions and work hard regardless of any negative interactions or work environment.

Your clothing is not only the first impression everyone has of you, but it also prepares you for the day. Showing up to work on time and in a positive mood is all negated if you’re wearing your pajamas. Appropriate work clothing varies depending on your job, but be sure to always show up with the right clothing and gear. Whether you have uniforms, suits or a business casual dress code, ask your employer or follow the crowd and wear appropriate, professional clothing.

Finally, there’s nothing worse than vulgar behavior at the office. Crude jokes, off-color language, and continuous wearing are all signs of an unprofessional employee or manager. This is particularly true if you are in a position of authority in your workplace, as many employees may take your crude language as a personal offense or discriminatory behavior.

Professionalism may look slightly different in your workplace, but every workplace requires some form of it. Treating your co-workers with respect, following through on important deadlines and always dressing appropriately are just a few ways that you can prove you treat your work seriously and are ready for a productive, professional day at work.