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Do Personal Attributes Contribute To Working Practices?

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Personal attributes
In addition to employability skills, employers seek a range of personal attributes which are important to working with your team members and customers.  Your personal attributes are another set of strengths you can sell to employers.

Examples are:

Loyalty
Commitment / persistence
Honesty and integrity
Enthusiasm
Reliability / sense of responsibility
Personal presentation
Common sense
Positive self-esteem / confidence
Sense of humour
Balanced attitude to work and home life
Ability to deal with pressure
Motivation
Adaptability / flexibility
Imagination and creativity
Temperament and personal style
Initiative
Intellectual capacity and style
Employees who effectively demonstrate these attributes are able to make a positive contribution to the workplace (adapted from DEST, 2002).

Loyalty
Loyalty is important in a workplace that is constantly changing to meet the challenges of a competitive global economy.  Businesses need employees who are committed to the organisation and its projects.

Honesty and integrity
The reputation of an organisation is very important.  It is often the key to attracting new clients and maintaining existing customers.  Thus it is important that an organisation provides sound advice and maintains high professional standards.  To achieve these goals an organisation needs staff who are honest, share information and provide sound advice.

You will be responsible for your actions and performance in the workplace.  So acting with integrity at all times is essential for you as an individual and for the success of the organisation.

Commitment / persistence
Persistence is important as it is the achievement of outcomes that leads to business success.  Once a useful idea has been generated, considerable follow-through is needed to reach the final goal.    Self-discipline and commitment will be needed to put the idea into practice as the path forward may be long and unfamiliar.

Enthusiasm
Demonstrating your eagerness to take on a task is very attractive to employers.  Enthusiasm is often infectious and can motivate those around you and assist the team to move forward.

Reliability / sense of responsibility
Businesses need staff who can anticipate a problem and are willing to contribute to the solution even if it is not part of their role.  It is important to have staff who are flexible and willing to contribute more than the minimum.  In addition, once you have committed to working on a task it is important that you are seen to be reliable and willing to complete the task.

Personal presentation
Workplaces need to maintain professional standards.  Employees contribute by dressing appropriately for the environment and maintaining suitable codes of behaviour.  The dress code for interviews will vary according to the job but it is usually safer to be on the more conservative side if you are unsure.

Common sense
Common sense is a measure of your ability to make good decisions based on knowledge and judgement. If you strive to do well in your studies your knowledge will improve and will contribute to your ability to make better decisions.  Staff with good decision-making ability are highly valued within an organisation.

Positive self esteem / self confidence
Self confidence changes throughout life and in different circumstances.  As you get older the depth and range of experiences you have increases and confidence grows.  In familiar situations you will be more comfortable and have a higher level of confidence.  In a job interview you will need to be very confident about your employability skills and how you can contribute to the organisation.  Do a quiz of your employability skills and get involved in programs that will assist you to strengthen your skills.  For example if you are shy and find it difficult to speak in groups look at ways you can improve your communication skills.  

Sense of humour
Staff with a good sense of humour are valued in the workplace as they can lift the spirits of their colleagues in busy and/or stressful environments.

Balanced attitude to work and home life
A positive home life contributes to a well rounded individual with a good attitude.  This attribute is often transferred to the workplace and can contribute to improved performance.

Ability to deal with pressure
Good time management helps you manage the daily workload and minimises the chance of jobs accumulating and creating additional pressure.

Motivation
Motivation is the drive to set goals and work towards achieving positive outcomes.

Adaptability / flexibility
The workplace is changing and employees need to be able to adapt to new circumstances.  For example, when new technology is introduced you need to be able to alter the way you work rather than resist the changes.

Imagination and creativity
Imagination and creativity are important to employers.  The workplace is constantly faced with new problems and organisations need staff who have an aptitude for seeing news ways of doing a job.  This might mean developing new products, reorganising work to reduce costs or taking advantage of new technologies.  Most workplaces today will question existing practices rather than blindly following those that have existed for a long time.

Temperament and personal style
Employers are interested in how you will fit into the day-to-day operations of the organisation and how well you will work with both staff and customers.  Teamwork, even across geographic boundaries, is very common in the global economy and you could be required to work with a number of teams to achieve organisational objectives.  

Initiative
If you see the phrase ‘self-starter’ in a job advertisement you will know the organisation is looking for an employee who can make decisions and follow through with appropriate action.  A self motivated person will see a problem or a need for improvement and be willing to take the lead and get things done without having to be asked.

Intellectual capacity and style
Individuals vary in:

How quickly they learn and retain information
The kinds of things they learn easily and to what level
Preferred learning style
How they apply knowledge to real life situations
Roles within organisations vary and your potential fit into roles can be determined by your depth of knowledge and ability to learn new information quickly in rapidly changing fields.  For example if you are a social learner then a role that requires frequent access to reference books to increase knowledge would be a poor match.

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