Being a star in your chosen profession takes a certain amount of savvyness, tenaciousness, adaptability and resourcefulness according to Aaron McDaniel in his 2013 book entitled, “The Young Professional’s Guide to the Working World”. The novelty of a new job makes the first few weeks a breeze and like any new relationship we are committed to putting our best foot forward. As time passes along, traits that we exhibited early on are not always met with the same enthusiasm. There are however some traits that are highly valued by an employer and coworkers alike; accountability, flexibility, resourcefulness, professionalism and teachability.
Taking all the credit and none of the blame is a trait that will be remembered negatively. Most employers just want to deal with a problem and move on to the next thing. Accountable employees make that happen. Being accountable simply means you recognize the part you played and owning it. Accountability shows confidence.
Taking on double shifts because you’re trying to be “flexible” just proves co-workers can take advantage of you. However, if your boss is trying to complete a big order and your shift is done, staying to help means she can rely on you to be flexible in the future.
A resourceful employee is a capable employee, one that can be trusted with or without supervision. Employers want to know the people they entrusted are doing their best. They do not want to be interrupted throughout the day to answer trivial questions.
A professional employee ensures that drama is kept to a minimum. Employers have their own “to-do” list, they do not have time to referee or manage employees who create or partake in dramatic situations that lend themselves to negativity. A professional employee understands that their personal life does not belong at work. They also understand that their behaviour reflects not only them personally but also the business for which they work.
A bumper sticker saying, “Hire a teenager while they still know everything”, is understood by anyone who knows a teenager. To be a truly valuable employee it is important to be teachable. Your employer has been doing the job longer than you, therefore knows the job. In the interest of time, having a mentor quickens your training and ensures tasks are completed correctly.
As an employee it is important that you internalize the traits as discussed if your intention is to climb the proverbial ladder; accountability, flexibility, resourcefulness, professionalism and teach-ability. The list is by no means exhaustive but it’s a pretty good start. The novelty of a new job makes it easy to display positive traits, which is why most places have a three month probationary period for employees.