5 Underrated Traits That Can Get You a Job
Some employment skills, essential though they are, rarely feature in job ads. Many of our clients have these in spades, but never mention them because employers don’t specifically solicit that information. When’s the last time you saw a job posting asking for kindness? Helpfulness? Humility?
Skills and credentials are important, but personality and culture fit will sometimes serve as the ultimate deciding factors. The following five personality traits can either complement a skilled candidate’s experience, or make up for a lack thereof. If you have any of these five skills, don’t be afraid to mention them in your application. They might just tip the balance in your favour!
Don’t misunderstand us: Likability does not mean being artificial, inauthentic, or unremarkable. Likable people let their individual personalities shine without compromising respect for other people. Being likable has a few key benefits. Likable people are more likely to have their mistakes forgiven. They usually have an easier time getting help at work, and also find it easier to persuade others. They enjoy these workplace privileges because people instinctively want to assist and please them. As you’ll see, trying to be more likable is definitely worth the effort.
True likability sounds like the kind of trait you have to be born with, but almost anyone can increase their own likability with conscious effort. Demonstrate sincere curiosity about and interest in others. Smile frequently, mimic other people’s body language, and search for common ground. All of these behaviours must be carefully managed, as doing any one of them to excess might unsettle people, but incorporating them into your everyday social strategy should encourage employers to envision you as one of their team.
Don’t forget that likability is just as important online as it is offline. If you project genuine warmth and authenticity in person, be sure to project that same persona through your social media channels.
Have you ever heard that nice people finish last? Well, we’re here to tell you that the data disagrees! Candidates who are described as helpful and kind by references, or who are perceived to be particularly kind during interviews, are twice as likely to be hired compared with candidates who focus exclusively on skill and talent. If your employer believes you’ll be a kind, cooperative person, they might even give you a higher starting salary, and will certainly trust you more readily with their team.
Here’s the thing: bright stars who court the spotlight take up a lot of oxygen, and no workplace can sustain too many of them at a time. While employers need and respect brilliance, they also look for candidates with helpful, collaborative spirits. These are the people who give a workplace its strength, positive culture, and resilience.
Pro tip: if you know yourself to be a kind, helpful person, don’t be afraid to ask your references to highlight that aspect of your character. Employers will notice.
In theory, humility is a value much of society holds dear, but we seldom see it demonstrated in traditional workplace culture. All too often, we are encouraged to play to win; be the best; eliminate the competition; aggressively pursue our goals. Inevitably, getting a job means someone else was not chosen, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t embrace humility as a professional value. If you do, you will be welcomed with open arms by employers who value cohesive workplace cultures.
How can you demonstrate humility? Here are a few ideas:
• Ask for and use candid feedback about your performance.
• Treat everyone respectfully, even if they are below you in the professional hierarchy.
• Remain open and receptive to advice and education, no matter where it comes from.
• Value the perspectives of others, especially if they are different from your own.
Practicing humility doesn’t mean being meek or subservient. It means nurturing a growth mindset, even if you have vast experience and skills. Approach life humbly, and you’ll discover infinite opportunities for growth, learning, and self-improvement.
4. Cultural Competence
Comfort with cultural diversity is not only desirable, but expected in the 21st-century professional world. It is so integral to almost every occupation that it’s surprising it is not explicitly mentioned in more job advertisements. If you’re able to exemplify cultural competence, or at least a willingness to develop it, you’ll put yourself at the head of the pack in most industries. If you lack cultural competence, you might face increase conflict and confusion in the workplace.
There is no shortcut to developing cultural competence. You’ll need a combination of study and lived experience to hone this skill, and the sooner you make it a priority, the better your career prospects will become. Spend time with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Observe and research the way different cultures communicate, manage time, collaborate, and handle sensitive workplace situations. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be an asset to any team.
Coachability is an essential skill that has its foundations in humility. As we discussed before, humility means being receptive to feedback, remaining open to differing perspectives, and accepting that everyone has something to teach you. Coachability builds on all these principles to make you a resilient, responsive, and highly adaptable (and valuable!) employee.
You can demonstrate coachability by:
• Soliciting feedback rather than waiting for colleagues to provide it.
• Showing a willingness to grow and adjust when faced with uncertainty and change.
• Listening carefully when receiving constructive criticism.
• Owning your mistakes and proving you can learn from them.
If you are truly coachable, you can transcend almost any other barrier in your path. What employer wouldn’t be impressed by that?
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Posted on April 24, 2018, in Advice & How To's and tagged career development, coachability, cover letters, humility, interview prep, job-searching, kindness, likability, resume, success. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.