In order to be successful in any industry, one must be well-rounded and adaptable to different situations. Possessing the qualities that are required to excel in your field along with an unwritten list of the attributes of a good employee (soft skills) makes for the ideal combination. Making it also requires sincere passion for your career path and confidence in your abilities. Rising above the competition entails making a conscious effort to always place your best foot forward. We’re all capable of expressing the traits of a great employee if we’re mindful of the following tips:
1. Keep learning. As with anything, knowledge equates to power. Awareness of current and past news and events that are relevant to your career and industry will become your competitive edge. Choose publications that are dedicated to your industry and seek information that specifically mentions your employer and competitors and headlines that may pertain to your profession. You want to be able to initiate and take part in conversations.
2. Network. Many professionals make the mistake of losing touch with their contacts once they’ve started a new job. An oversight like this can be detrimental to your future as you never know when you’ll be in the job market again. Reaching out to a connection that you’ve been out of touch with for job leads only when you need them won’t go over well. A diverse network of talented individuals who share your passion can offer advice and further insight into their particular field. And be sure to return the favor with those looking to keep in touch with you.
3. Toughen up. You’ll be given advice that you don’t want to hear, judged and scrutinized from head-to-toe, and probably receive straight-forward feedback that you don’t think you need. Being able to push all of the noise to the side is not an easy task, but if you do, you can spend your time focusing on your career versus getting sucked into negativity.
4. Dress to impress. High fashion labels will only get you so far; and honestly, they aren’t necessary. Dress according to the culture of the company in which you are employed and for the role you wish to attain, not only for the role you currently hold. Looking the part is only a small piece of the formula, but it is not to be ignored. In fashion, it’s all in the details.
5. Listen well. No one likes to have to repeat themselves or to have to review direction with an employee because the results weren’t as expected. Listen, take notes, and ask questions so that you get it right (or pretty close) the first time.
6. Choose your words wisely. Everyone wants their voice to be heard, but there’s a time and a place for everything. Speak up when you have something to bring to the table and you have the data to back it up. Don’t be afraid to express your thoughts or to share your ideas– do be sure that what you say is accurate and with purpose.
7. Be on time. When you’re the newbie in the office all eyes are on you. Get in on time (or earlier) and stick around after closing time to get an idea of when the rest of the office leaves and how often they stay past business hours. Mirror their schedules until you’ve secured your position to the point where you can judge when is a good time for you to call it a night.
8. Take credit. You deserve to receive credit for you hard work and dedication. Don’t be afraid to let others know that you’re proud of your work and that you’re happy to make a contribution to the team and the overall goals of the company. If your enthusiasm for your success is sincerely about the big picture rather than self-serving, your colleagues will gladly celebrate with you.
9. Comprehend the process. Learning the ins and outs of every piece of the puzzle is the only way to fully appreciate the process – regardless of your line of work. Also, you’ll be able to participate in the conversation on a deeper level when you have an understanding of each person’s contribution.
10. Personal branding. Everyone’s talking about the importance of building a personal brand, but what does it all mean? Well, since social media has made our lives more public, we’re faced with the responsibility of ensuring our online presence is an accurate reflection of our personalities. Your personal brand should represent all of the characteristics that make you a unique individual without sacrificing professionalism.