12 Most “Must Attain” Traits for Today’s Unemployed
Today’s job market is the most challenging the US has faced in living memory. To many, the path their predecessors from Generation X and the Baby Boomers took (go to college… get a degree… get a good job) – looks like a fairy tale written millennia ago.
What to do? Settle for being under-employed, move back home with parents… go back to grad school and incur even more student loan debt? Sit around and wait for economy to improve? Put our futures off… to the future?
For those that are succeeding despite the challenging times, the answer is an emphatic “none of the above”.
For the rare few who have beaten the odds to succeed – there seems to be a shared set of skills and personal characteristics that undoubtedly set them apart.
The best news: the clear pattern in this list of traits shows that none of them are “given” – that is to say that these characteristics are not inherited through our parents or bestowed upon us by professors, supervisors or spouses. These “12 Most” traits that can be acquired and developed by anyone – and relatively quickly.
1. Confidence and Charisma
Think you have to be a textbook example of an extravert to show confidence and charisma? Wrong. Not all of us are Lady Gaga or Oprah – we exude confidence in our own ways, sometimes quietly – and other times, God help us.
2. Serve as Teacher and Student
We love to teach. We love to learn. In today’s workforce and entrepreneurial world, those who may employ or work with us want to know we can do both, simultaneously.
3. The Desire – even the Need – to Communicate
Choose your weapon: in-person, email, phone, social media – or preferably all of the above. Effective communication with others – sometimes in the instant form – is expected. No… it’s demanded.
4. Problem Solving
Anyone can panic when a challenge arises. Employers want to know you can use data points, common sense and poise to rise above a problem – and turn into as much of a positive as possible.
5. Balance of Passion
No one wants to work with a Type A, matriarchal, Omarosa-type. Balance your passion – and expect and enable others to do the same. Golden rule: 50% life; 50% making a living.
6. Respect for Social Issues
A healthy respect for social issues and the desire to improve their world – both in your immediate environment and in a global sense – shows you are well grounded and you understand “big picture” issues.
Your personal drama, the 2,412 friends you have on Facebook, Halo 4 and designing your next tattoo should not be distractions. At work, you work. Period.
8. Barriers Not Allowed
Your refusal to allow any barriers to impede your success – including gender, culture, economics and education – is a sure sign you are willing to fight for what you believe in, even when it would be easier to quit.
This is a simple issue in the workplace: 1) say what you’re going to do; 2) do it before you said you’d have it done. That’s it. (Okay-okay… some old school ethics help quite a bit, too. If you wouldn’t do it in church in front of your grandmother – don’t do it at work!)
10. Independent Thought and Teamwork
These two terms are not mutually exclusive. Employers know that “group-think” and being a “yes man” do not make for creative, complimentary teams. State your position. At the same time, make sure your ideas expand the effort to accomplish team goals.
Think you can’t be all these things – and be humble, too? Wrong. Your humility inspires others to speak up, shows you are willing to take a step back and that the team mission is more important than you (which makes you a great role model).
See “Humility” above.
Don’t have all these traits and skills now? Of course you don’t – not many do. So focus on three or four of them you don’t feel confident about right now. Then set your sites on mastering three or four – plus those you already possess – will put you far ahead of 95% of your workplace competition.
The first step: Surround yourself with the human spirit that embodies these traits – and be coach-able. You’ll begin to emulate and build these traits in yourself, work through each day with greater inspiration – and maintain a clearer focus on building your future.
Featured image courtesy of Nesster licensed via creative commons.