By Emily Pendergraft
Fall is officially here. The leaves have changed and a feeling of transformation is in the air. For many it’s the start of a new school year, presenting a fresh opportunity to learn, grow, and develop. While change is all around us, there is no time like the present to begin positioning yourself for a new career. Whether you’re looking for a first-time job, or a mid-career change, these five tips can assist you in your efforts.
Work Related Skills that Matter
Be curious. You will never be as young as you are now. You will also never know as little as you know now. Employers want employees who will be actively involved in their own learning and improving. A spirit of intellectual curiosity is hard to find in many applicants, and yet employers deeply value this quality. If you can demonstrate this spirit, by describing where you have displayed this skill in the past, it will truly set you apart from the pack.
Take initiative. You need to push yourself to consistently do more than “just your job” and be proactive when problem solving. If you have an idea on how to improve systems or process efficiency, don’t hesitate to take ownership of the task. Taking initiative shows people that you believe in your own ideas and solutions to problems, and is a powerful quality that encourages a lifetime of self-development.
Be collaborative. The world does not revolve around you, and your career success will not always depend on you either. Being able to work in teams is an essential component of success. If you have an idea, don’t be afraid to share it with others. Use your co-workers as a spring board to bounce ideas and goals off of. Not only is the ability to work in a team seen as critical to success by employers, but this skill will likely make the workplace far more enjoyable. Relationships matter.
Be positive. While many of us find it easier to dwell on the negative, remaining positive in difficult situations, or when faced with difficult tasks, is essential. On those tough days –personal or professional — the people who take time to move past instinct and into a more thoughtful and positive place will perform better. You may not always land a job in the most culturally positive work place, but YOU can create a positive work environment through expressing gratitude, offering praise to your counterparts, and staying focused on long-term goals and outcomes.. Positive people perform better at work, so challenge yourself to bring this sense of possibility to your workplace. Keep this is mind when interviewing.
Show grit. Can you think of a time you have quit something — a task, a club, a sport? For most of us, the answer is yes. Grit is defined as “strength of character,” or perseverance, and is truly a quality that can set you apart in the workplace. Times get tough, projects get long, but those individuals who can ethically carry on in the tough moments experience the rewards at the end. Challenge yourself to not quit or give up when the times are tough, and be realistic with yourself when deciding if you have this skill or if this is something you need to work on. Your ability to overcome obstacles while achieving outcomes, will greatly help you in not only your career, but in life.
Emily Pendergraft works in Employer Relations and Outreach for the UVM School of Business Administration.