The job market has become extremely competitive especially over the past few years. There are more and more students graduating from college and not enough companies to facilitate them all. It’s just the reality of the situation. Therefore if you’re looking to snag your dream job, and keep it, you’ll need more than just a degree, there are certain character traits, and work values that employers look for in an employee. Check them out below:

Professionalism

This is probably one of the first things an employer looks for during the hiring process. Many of the other attributes (honesty, adaptability, etc.) cannot be properly assessed until you’ve been with a company for a period of time, but professionalism or lack thereof can be observed in an instant. The meaning of professionalism might differ slightly depending on the situation or environment, but in general it’s really about how you carry yourself in the workplace. First rule of thumb, get to work on time! However, there’s more; do you dress appropriately for your place of work? — And appropriately means following the guidelines as outlined by the company. It doesn’t just mean putting on a great suit; the suit should also be clean and properly pressed. How do you act during interactions with your superiors and co-workers? If you blow up in meetings, get angry at your teammates when they disagree with your opinions, or use the company resources for personal use then you are not professional! These are indeed grounds for termination!

Loyalty

Companies want to make sure that you are totally committed to them, especially those who invest in their staff by offering training opportunities and other incentives. Loyalty can be displayed by showing your commitment to the company such as going out of your way to get the job done, or taking interest in learning and improving yourself in ways that will benefit the company. For the most part loyalty is earned, companies who offer competitive salaries, a great work environment and opportunities for growth can easily create loyal employees. Especially when you studies show that most people will reportedly have 8 – 12 jobs throughout their career. This doesn’t say much about employee loyalty, but it’s only fair that if the company treats you well, and invests in you that you show some loyalty in return.

Team Player

The saying “There is no ‘I’ in TEAM” might sound cliché but it’s also true. No matter what position you have in a company, you have to learn how to work with others. It doesn’t mean that you need other people to help do your job; it’s really about understanding that each person’s role is valuable to the overall success of the organization. A team player is supportive and lends a helping hand when another member is having difficulty. Being a team player also means sharing information and knowledge that will not only help your co-workers but the organization as well.

Motivated

There is an obvious link between motivation and productivity, which is why many companies provide incentives to keep their staff motivated. These are usually in the form of recognition, monetary rewards and boost to moral – with the latter being the most preferred according to a survey led by Westminster College U.S. However there are times when your company might not offer any incentives so it’s up to you to find ways to stay motivated. One way is to reward yourself when you accomplish certain goals or targets; it doesn’t have to be a large purchase just a small token of appreciation to yourself! If work is overwhelming then put yourself on a timer, and don’t bring your work home with you. Set a realistic cut-off time each day for when you’ll close the laptop, turn off the work phone and take some time for yourself. This will help to clear your mind, get a good night’s sleep and you’ll be refreshed, motivated and ready for work each day.

Responsible and Dependable

This doesn’t just include the job-specific responsibilities; there are other ‘less obvious’ workplace responsibilities as well. You are accountable for your actions and behaviours towards your co-workers and superiors. This means communicating to superiors if you are going to be late or absent, and keeping them abreast if you unable to perform your duties for whatever reason. You are also responsible for adhering to the guidelines or code of conduct stipulated in the employee handbook, and simply acting with a level of self-respect and personal integrity.

Good Communication Skills

Another important asset needed for workplace success in good communication skills. Communication incorporates a range of different things, one very important aspect being your ability to listen. Listening is a skill in itself that not many people possess; active listening means paying attention to what the speaker is saying. It also means asking for clarification if something is not understood, especially in the workplace. Communication also involves verbal and non-verbal cues. The latter refers to your body language such as gestures, eye contact, and your overall appearance when communicating with your co-workers. A stern face and crossed arms appear unapproachable, so try to put a smile on your face and unfold those arms so that others feel comfortable speaking to you or approaching you. Eye contact is significant during conversations as well, you don’t need to stare, but don’t look at your phone constantly; it will seem as if you are not interested in what the person is saying.

Leadership Skills

This skill does not come naturally to everyone, but thankfully it’s something you can learn as you get more comfortable in your role. They say some people are natural leaders and some are followers, but employers are not looking for followers. The fact is even if you don’t plan to take charge of a company you’ll still need to take the lead at some point during your tenure. You might be asked to lead a team meeting or take charge of a project. Your ability— or lack thereof— to successfully facilitate these small things can easily be the deciding factor in whether or not you are considered for a promotion/higher position within the company. Interestingly, leadership requires more than just being put in charge of something or someone. In order to be seen as a leader in the workplace you must be able to motivate people and be okay with taking responsibility for mistakes that occur under your charge. Remember a team is only as good as its leader, don’t go around pointing fingers at persons who didn’t do what they were supposed to do; it was your job to ensure that they did! Other vital leadership qualities include being a critical thinker, being empathetic, respectful, flexible and passionate.

Adaptability

They say “The only thing constant in life is change “so you better be prepared for that. Your career success will be dependent on if and how you adapt to changes within the workplace. These days companies must learnt to thrive in a rapidly changing world, and if the employees can’t change and thrive right along with the company then you no longer serve a purpose there; it’s that simple! Recent research by Barclays LifeSkills, published in the Telegraph revealed that most employers see adaptability as an imperative work skill. Additionally, 60% of employers think that adaptability has become more important over the last decade. As an employee you can demonstrate adaptability by displaying a sense of calmness and poise when unexpected issues arise. It is also about your capacity to make swift decisions and seamlessly initiate ‘Plan B’ when ‘Plan A’ fails.

Positive Attitude

Another very important value that employers look for is a positive attitude. Disasters will undoubtedly occur, but it’s about how you recover from them and a bad attitude can further exacerbate an already bad situation. If your workplace doesn’t have a positive culture then you can be the catalyst for change. You can do this by fostering healthy work relationships, showing gratitude towards your co-workers and complimenting them for their achievements. A recent Forbes article noted that a positive work culture inspires creativity, promotes collaboration and even encourages happier employees. The article was written by William Craig, founder and president of WebFX —his company has been named the No. 1 Best Place to Work in Pennsylvania, for the past 3 years.

Honesty

Honesty is a vital component in any relationship; including the relationship between you, your co-workers and supervisors. Dishonesty has no business in the workplace and that’s just the truth. There are too many things, and too much money at stake for an employer to keep a dishonest employee; it has a ripple effect on not just the workplace environment but with clients and business partners as well. If word gets out that you cannot be trusted it can take years to rebuild your reputation again- if ever! Moreover, honesty is far more rewarding than dishonest; it builds a level of loyalty among you and your superiors. Furthermore, honesty is also good for your mental health. Trying to keep track of lies and finding ways to cover up the truth can be a headache, and can wreak chaos on your emotions. If you want to be invaluable to your company, you must start with transparency and trust. While this might not necessarily yield short term gains, you should always foster an atmosphere of integrity in your personal and professional life and in the long run you’ll undoubtedly reap the rewards.
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