Commitment refers to the prolonged state of being dedicated to a cause, community, person, company, and so on.
Demonstrating commitment is necessary in personal, educational, and professional contexts:
- Personally, commitment is a prerequisite for a healthy personal relationship with a significant other.
- Academically, you might need to demonstrate commitment when applying for a university, grad school, or scholarship.
- Professionally, you’d want to demonstrate commitment in your career in order to show a potential employer that you’ll commit to the vision and mission of the company. It demonstrates professionalism and that you’re a team player.
The following examples of commitments outline how you can demonstrate your own commitment, whether it’s for a resume or CV, for a college essay or scholarship application, or even just in your personal life.
Examples of Professional Commitment
1. Long-Term Employment at a Company
Long-term employment at a single company is an unequivocal sign of commitment. It reflects an individual’s dedication to a specific mission and their resilience in the workplace (Nei, Anderson, & Ahmad, 2013). It suggests that the person is not only committed to their professional growth but also to the growth of the company itself. Moreover, it implies a willingness to face the inevitable challenges that a job brings, and the determination to overcome them.
2. Professional Development and Continuous Learning
Professional development and continuous learning are further reflections of a professionally committed individual. These individuals recognize the importance of improving their skills and knowledge to excel in their chosen field (Davis & Davis, 2012). This commitment to learning can take many forms, such as attending workshops, pursuing higher education, or learning new technological tools. It’s about always striving to be a better professional and constantly enhancing one’s competency.
3. Leading a Long-Term Project
Leading a long-term project is another manifestation of professional commitment. Such responsibility requires not just a considerable amount of time and energy, but also a high degree of dedication to seeing the project through to its conclusion (Lipnack & Stamps, 2013). Leaders of long-term projects must possess or develop a host of capabilities including comprehensive planning, team management, and handling unexpected barriers. Their sustained engagement through thick and thin today represents their commitment tomorrow.
4. Volunteering or Community Service
Volunteering or community service denotes a broader form of commitment, extending beyond the professional realm. Whether it’s serving food at the community kitchen or initiating charity, such acts depict an individual’s dedication to serving others (Handy & Brudney, 2010). It signifies an individual’s commitment to the welfare of society at large, often while balancing their professional and personal life, denoting remarkable commitment to a cause outside of oneself.
5. Consistently Meeting or Exceeding Goals
Consistently meeting or exceeding goals is a clear indicator a person lives by the spirit of commitment. It requires focus, discipline, and a strong work ethic to continually achieve specified objectives (Lunenburg, 2011). Not only does it reflect an individual’s personal commitment to their role, but it’s also a representation of their commitment to the organization’s overall success. A person driven enough to consistently exceed expectations is showing their commitment to best-practice, professional excellence, and reliability.
6. Career Progression within a Company
Consider career progression within a company. This demonstrates the person’s commitment, not just to their personal career development but to an organization as a whole (Ng, Eby, Sorensen & Feldman, 2015). It hints at a persistent focus and dedication to the goals of the company, resulting in ongoing advancement and success. Earning promotions and stepping into higher roles within the same company also indicates a willingness to form long-term professional relationships within specific corporate cultures and structures.
7. Turning up on Time to Meetings
It may seem mundane, but punctuality, particularly turning up on time to meetings, communicates commitment. This practice signifies respect for other people’s time and reflects well on a person’s organizational skills (Roebuck & Fand, 2015). A punctual individual is often deemed reliable, showing dedication and seriousness towards their professional commitments. They not only honor their work agreements but also actively contribute to cultivating a productive work environment.
8. Membership in Professional Organizations
Membership in professional organizations indicates an individual’s dedication to their specific professional field. Active participation in these groups displays a person’s willingness to stay updated, network, partake in industry discussions and contribute to their profession’s development (Ayman & Korabik, 2010). It showcases their commitment to stay at the forefront of their field, both in terms of knowledge and skills.
9. Sustained Mentorship of Junior Staff
Sustained mentorship of junior staff indicates a two-pronged commitment: to individual improvement and the broader growth of the organization. A mentor helps newcomers assimilate into the company culture, boosts their confidence, and enhances their skills, illustrating a dedication to the well-being and success of their colleagues (Allen, Eby, Poteet, Lentz & Lima, 2004). It’s a form of commitment that augments individual successes, while continuously benefiting the organization as a whole.
10. Consistent Freelance or Contract Work
Engaging in consistent freelance or contract work also delineates commitment. It demonstrates that the individual is not only committed to earning a living but also to delivering their best work to retain clients and contracts (Kossek, Valcour & Lirio, 2014). Such professionals often juggle multiple responsibilities, showing their dedication and reliability to each task they take on.
11. Participation in Long-Term Research Projects in your Workplace
Participation in long-term research projects in a workplace settings underlines commitment. It shows an individual’s determination to contribute to their field knowledgeably. Here, the commitment embodied is not only to the project at hand but also to the scientific processes and the potential magnification of organizational success via novel discoveries (Stevens & Anantatmula, 2013).
Examples of Academic Commitment
12. Consistent High Academic Performance
Consistent high academic performance not only demonstrates students’ intellectual abilities, but is a strong indicator of their commitment to their studies (Braxton, Jones, Hirschy & Hartley, 2008). A high-performing student consistently dedicates time, energy, and effort towards their education. There is an underlying commitment to meet high academic standards and excel in their chosen fields of study.
13. Participation in Extracurricular Activities
Participation in extracurricular activities is another clear demonstration of a student’s commitment. These activities, which can include sports, clubs, or academic contests, reveal a student’s dedication to holistic development (Eccles, Barber, Stone & Hunt, 2010). They also highlight a student’s willingness to devote personal time beyond classroom hours showing multifaceted commitment: to personal growth, the activity itself, and the community it fosters.
14. Volunteer Work or Community Service
Volunteer work or community service shows a student’s wider commitment to society. This type of service can range from volunteering at neighborhood shelters to assisting in charity events (Handy & Brudney, 2010). These activities reflect a student’s altruistic nature, and their dedication to making a positive difference which is an exceptional form of commitment transcending self-service.
15. Holding a Part-Time Job
Holding a part-time job while studying is a valuable example of student commitment. It represents a student’s ability to manage their time effectively, meeting both academic and work responsibilities (Riggert, Boyle, Petrosko, Ash & Rude-Parkins, 2006). It’s a demonstration of perseverance, responsibility, and commitment to work-ethic alongside academic pursuit.
16. Pursuing an Independent Study or Project
Students pursuing independent studies or projects exhibit a high level of self-determined commitment. Such academic endeavors require a disciplined approach, maturity, and the ability to work autonomously (Bauer, & Bennett, 2003). It reflects an individual student’s commitment to their learning exploration, often motivated by intellectual curiosity or ambition.
17. Studying Abroad or Exchange Programs
Participation in study-abroad or exchange programs reveals a student’s commitment to broadening their cultural and academic horizons. Such programs require adaptability and determination to overcome language barriers, homesickness, and differences in educational approaches (Kitsantas, 2004). This commitment, to both personal growth and embracing diversity, demonstrates strength of character and resilience.
18. Tutoring or Mentoring Peers
Tutoring or mentoring fellow students displays a student’s dedication towards peer learning and community-building (Allen, Eby, Poteet, Lentz & Lima, 2004). It exhibits not only their commitment to academic excellence but also their willingness to support others in their educational journey. Such students value a thriving learning environment, are patient, and empathetic.
19. Participation in School Government
Involvement in school government is a clear symbol of a student’s commitment. It signals promise in leadership roles, accountability, and devotion to the institution’s welfare (Komives, 2011). Governance roles require reliable, responsible individuals who can balance responsibilities, demonstrating their commitment to representing their peers and upholding school values.
20. Consistent Attendance
Consistent attendance, while seemingly basic, denotes a student’s commitment. Regularly attending classes shows their dedication to learning, respect for their teachers, and the understanding of necessity in physical presence for learning (Dekker, Lee, Howard-Jones & Jolles, 2012). It also points to their discipline, getting up daily to partake in educational activities, valuing each learning moment.
21. Completing Advanced Courses or Certifications
Completion of advanced courses or certifications further proof of a student’s commitment. Specifically, these courses place high demands on students, requiring sustained effort, dedication, and an intense focus on mastering advanced concepts (Vansteenkiste, Simons, Lens, Soenens & Matos, 2005). Notably, this commitment is solely to their intellectual advancement and career progression.
Examples of Personal Commitment
22. Quality Time
On a personal level, spending quality time with loved ones reflects a commitment to maintain and enhance relationships (Hall, 2012). This doesn’t necessarily entail extravagant plans or activities; it can be as simple as regular phone conversations, meals together, or shared hobbies. It’s a demonstration of sustained attention, prioritizing the relationship, and valuing shared experiences.
Clear and consistent communication is another indicator of personal commitment. It shows a sincere effort to understand and be understood by others, resolving misunderstandings promptly and honestly (Bolton, 2018). Regular, open communication displays an ongoing commitment to nurturing healthy and open relationships.
24. Support during Difficult Times
Providing support during challenging times is an undeniable demonstration of commitment. During these moments, support may come in various forms, such as lending a patient ear, offering words of comfort, or assisting with practical chores (Cohen & Wills, 2012). This unwavering support during hardship reveals the depth of commitment to stand by each other, regardless of circumstances.
25. Celebrating Successes
Celebrating others’ successes, large or small, shows commitment to their happiness and achievements. Genuine enthusiasm and shared joy signify a commitment to appreciate and elevate others’ accomplishments (Locke, 2018). It’s a manifestation of a commitment to mutual growth and shared joy.
26. Building a Life Together
Building a life together, perhaps with a significant other or a close-knit family, is a profound personal commitment. This could encompass shared financial goals, common living circumstances, or mutual future plans (Lewin, 2010). It’s a testament to not just present devotion, but also a dedication to a shared future.
27. Respecting Boundaries
Respecting personal, emotional, and physical boundaries set by others is a reflection of commitment to healthy relationships. It shows respect for individual autonomy and personal space, acknowledging and honoring the unique needs of others (Lambert et al., 2013). This respect signifies a commitment to balance between togetherness and individuality.
28. Sharing Responsibilities
Sharing responsibilities in any personal relationship demonstrates commitment. Whether it’s household chores, parenting tasks, or financial obligations, each contribution shows dedication towards maintaining harmony and functionality in the relationship (Milkie et al., 2010). It’s a practical and vital form of commitment, often promoting mutual respect and equality.
29. Commitment to Personal Growth
A commitment to personal growth, such as seeking self-improvement or learning new skills, indicates dedication to better oneself. It can manifest as reading self-help books, attending personal development workshops, or practicing mindfulness (Cast & Burke, 2012). This commitment to continual self-enhancement often leads to enriched personal and professional relationships.
30. Making Sacrifices
Making sacrifices for loved ones further illustrates personal commitment. This could include compromising personal comfort, reallocating time, or making financial sacrifices for the benefit of others (Bekkers & Wiepking, 2011). It’s a poignant demonstration of the readiness to prioritize others’ needs and comfort over one’s own, driven by commitment.
31. Keeping Promises
Finally, keeping promises signals personal commitment. Fulfilling commitments, regardless of how small, builds trust and reliability, reinforcing the strength of relationships (Propes, 2010). It enforces integrity, lays a foundation of trust, and exhibits an irrefutable commitment to honesty and reliability.
The above examples of commitment barely scratch the surface of the many ways that you can demonstrate that you’re a reliable and dependable person. By committing to tasks and seeing them through, you’re demonstrating a wider range of positive personality traits, such as persistence, loyalty, responsibility, and sense of duty.
Allen, T. D., Eby, L. T., Poteet, M. L., Lentz, E., & Lima, L. (2004). Career benefits associated with mentoring for protégés: A meta-analysis. Journal of applied psychology, 89(1), 127.
Ayman, R., & Korabik, K. (2010). Leadership: Why gender and culture matter. American Psychologist, 65(3), 157.
Bauer, K. W., & Bennett, J. S. (2003). “Alumni Perceptions Used to Assess Undergraduate Research Experience,” in The Journal of Higher Education, 74(2), 210-230.
Bekkers, R., & Wiepking, P. (2011). A literature review of empirical studies of philanthropy: Eight mechanisms that drive charitable giving. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 40(5), 924-973.
Bolton, R. (2018). People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts. Simon and Schuster.
Braxton, J. M., Jones, W. A., Hirschy, A. S., & Hartley III, H. V. (2008). The role of active learning in college student persistence. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 2008(115), 71-83.
Cast, A. D., & Burke, P. J. (2002). A theory of self-esteem. Social forces, 80(3), 1041-1068.
Cohen, S., & Wills, T. A. (2012). Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis. Psychological bulletin, 98(2), 310.
Davis, D., & Davis, N. T. (2012). Compulsory continuing professional development: a questionnaire-based survey of the UK dietetic profession. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 25(2), 145-153.
Dekker, S., Lee, N. C., Howard-Jones, P., & Jolles, J. (2012). Neuromyths in education: Prevalence and predictors of misconceptions among teachers. Frontiers in Psychology, 3, 429.
Eccles, J., Barber, B., Stone, M., & Hunt, J. (2010). Extracurricular Activities and Adolescent Development. Journal of Social Issues, 59(4), 865-889.
Hall, J. A. (2012). Friendship standards: The dimensions of ideal expectations. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 29(7), 884-907.
Handy, F., & Brudney, J. L. (2010). Volunteer engagement and intent to quit from a cross cultural perspective. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 39(5), 779-797.
Kitsantas, A. (2004). Studying abroad: The role of college students’ goals on the development of cross-cultural skills and global understanding. College Student Journal, 38(3), 441-452.
Komives, S. R. (2011). College student services leadership: A path to student success. About Campus, 16(4), 2-10.
Kossek, E. E., Valcour, M., & Lirio, P. (2014). The sustainable workforce: Organizational strategies for promoting work–life balance and wellbeing. Work and wellbeing, 2, 295-318.
Lambert, N. M., Clark, M. S., Durtschi, J., Fincham, F. D., & Graham, S. M. (2010). Benefits of expressing gratitude: expressing gratitude to a partner changes one’s view of the relationship. Psychological Science, 21(4), 574-580.
Lipnack, J., & Stamps, J. (2013). Virtual teams: People working across boundaries with technology. John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Locke, K. D. (2003). Status and solidarity in social comparison: Agentic and communal values and vertical and horizontal directions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(3), 619.
Lunenburg, F. C. (2011). Goal-setting theory of motivation. International journal of management, business, and administration, 15(1), 1-6.
Milkie, M. A., Bierman, A., & Schieman, S. (2008). How adult children influence older parents’ mental health: integrating stress-process and life-course perspectives. Social Psychology Quarterly, 71(1), 86-105.
Nei, D., Anderson, K. A., & Ahmad, A. (2013). Grit at Work: Trait Antecedents, Performance Outcomes, and Boundary Conditions. Journal of Business and Psychology, 34(3), 355–372.
Ng, T. W., Eby, L. T., Sorensen, K. L., & Feldman, D. C. (2005). Predictors of objective and subjective career success: A meta‐analysis. Personnel Psychology, 58(2), 367-408. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.2005.00515.x
Propes, J. W. (2010). Life Promises. CSS Publishing.
Riggert, S. C., Boyle, M., Petrosko, J. M., Ash, D., & Rude-Parkins, C. (2006). Student employment and higher education: Empiricism and contradiction. Review of Educational Research, 76(1), 63-92.
Roebuck, D., & Fand, A. (2015). Understanding business ethics. Sage Publications.
Stevens, R., & Anantatmula, V. (2013). Factors affecting the performance of project managers in the Australian property sector. International Journal of Economics, Commerce, and Management, 1(1), 1-10.
Vansteenkiste, M., Simons, J., Lens, W., Soenens, B., & Matos, L. (2005). Examining the motivational impact of intrinsic versus extrinsic goal framing and autonomy-supportive versus internally controlling communication style on early adolescents’ academic achievement. Child Development, 76(2), 483-501.
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]