Are you aiming to move your career forward? Are you in the running for a new job? Know that it will take more than smarts to get ahead. Anyone can do a job. At the end of the day, what it really comes down to is how you do your job. Employers are looking for employees who do more than just clock in and out each day. It’s important to perform your job with the goal of not only doing your best work but also being the best employee. Who you are matters just as much as what you do.
It makes a big difference when you fulfill your job requirements while also being mindful of how your actions affect those you work with. Who you are as a person, and your habits (whether good or bad) can determine how far you get in your career or even if you get hired for a new job. Roughly 77% of employers say soft skills (attributes that are associated with your personality) are as important as hard skills (these are the skills you need to perform a specific job function) when it comes to job candidate evaluations. While there are certainly exceptions (there are plenty of mean people who get far in life), it often pays to work in a way that honors both you and your teammates.
If you’re looking to get ahead at work, there are certain key personality traits that can help you attain career success. Here are five attributes that will make any employer want you on their team.
If you’ve lost your get-up-and-go, find it. No one should have to hold your hand and closely supervise you just so that you can get your basic tasks done. A lack of desire to do your best work is not only frustrating for your employer but also a morale killer for your co-workers. Get excited about your job and see how your work improves. Learn a new skill, join an employee network, or find ways to help your teammates. If you just can’t seem to get passionate about your job, maybe it’s time for a change. Either consider taking on a new role at the company, changing jobs, or doing a total career overhaul. It’s possible your chosen career just isn’t right for you.
A motivated employee, on the other hand, is one who has an infectious passion for the job. He or she doesn’t have to be told twice to do their work. This the type of worker who can jump in to help with a project, lead a team, and who genuinely cares about the work he or she produces. Motivated employees are more productive and tend to have a better chance at getting promoted.
Employers must grow and change to keep up with the competition. Are you willing to grow and change with them? Employees who are resistant to change and insistent on doing things the old way will get left behind. If you want to move forward in your career, you’ll need to be willing to support your employer during times of transition. Instead of resisting new ideas and methods of getting things done, aim to be flexible and open to ideas that differ from yours. Change could prove to be good for your career. You may find yourself in a new role that catapults you to a higher rung on the ladder.
Do you steal pens from the office? Do you leave work early when no one’s watching? You might think no one notices, but there’s always someone who has an eye on you. Whether you think someone is watching or not, behave as if the CEO is sitting right next to you. Choose to do the right thing even when you’re tempted to fulfill your selfish desires. Hiring managers employ those they both like and trust. You never know who is watching you, so behave.
If you hope to be a boss one day, you’ll need to develop self-discipline. If you can’t manage yourself, how can your boss expect you to manage others? This involves being on time for work and resisting the temptation to skip those boring meetings that have nothing to do with you. Also remember that discipline is more than checking off boxes on your to-do list. Your attitude counts. An employee who does a good job with a bad attitude won’t get very far at work or in life. You’ll also be miserable to work with.
You don’t have to step on people to get ahead at work. It’s not always the nasty employees who win in the end (a lot of the time they do, but we’ll talk about that later). It’s OK to pursue your career goals, but it’s also important to have others’ best interests in mind. Don’t become so focused on advancement that you ignore the feelings and needs of those around you. Work may be the last place you want to be kind, but being likeable can get you far. Likeable people tend to have an easier time finding employment and generally get more co-worker support. So think twice before you steal your colleague’s idea or reach into the office refrigerator and take a bite out of someone’s sandwich and then put it back. (You know that was you.)