American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Five Tips to Become a More Credible Assistant

What does it mean to be "credible" as an assistant? What does credible look like to you? How can you be competent in your job, stretch yourself professionally, and still stay within the scope of your training and your duties as determined by your CCC-SLP or CCC-A supervisor?

The word credible means different things to different people. Most people associate the term with respect or professionalism, but even those words have several layers of hidden meaning. Certainly, someone who is credible deserves respect, but respect is earned and not always a given.

Training and competence alone do not make a person credible in their job. Quite often, a truly successful person has good technical knowledge or skills combined with the nontechnical or "soft skills" that are so important when working within a team environment and when working with clients. The following tips are a collection of common sense suggestions and soft skills that can determine whether your employer, your supervisor, and your colleagues think of you as merely proficient or as a true professional:

  • Maintain a positive and pleasant attitude. You would be surprised at how often people are promoted and given a chance for advancement simply by being nice to others. A positive attitude, even in the middle of a bad situation, can not only reduce the level of stress (for everyone), but can also really set you apart and maybe even make you the go-to person for your supervisor. Besides, who wants to be around someone who is always negative? Have you ever heard of someone getting a raise or promotion for their bad attitude?
  • Project a professional image. This simply translates to "common sense" things like:
    • wearing clean, neat, suitable clothing;
    • speaking respectfully and appropriately to your supervisor, your colleagues, and your clients;
    • and arriving at work on time (or even a little early).
  • Convey a willingness to learn new things. A true professional continues to learn and stay abreast of current trends and research in their field. A professional assistant should expect to do the same thing. If you want your supervisor to notice your professionalism, then you need to incorporate these three things in your work style:
    • Volunteering for tasks and being willing to learn something new goes a long way in building trust and credibility in any job.
    • Asking your supervisor how you may better assist them—this very simple question can make a "regular" employee become a "valued" team member in an instant!
    • Working with your certified supervisor to develop a professional development plan is a sign that you take your career seriously.
  • Demonstrate initiative. Perform your routine tasks without waiting for someone to ask you. Complete your assignments on time and be thorough in your tasks. Act as if your supervisor is watching you even when he or she is not physically standing beside you.
  • Exhibit a sense of organization. No supervisor wants to take time out of a hectic day to organize an assistant's work. Make sure your work environment is neat and organized and lends itself to being a productive, professional looking space. Your boss will thank you and the clients will too!

None of these tips are rocket science. Each tip has a measure of common sense and all of them can be easily incorporated into your daily work habits. However, you may find that if you use all of these techniques, you not only get referred to as credible, but you might just be called "incredible"!

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