When I graduated college and about to launch my career in the marketplace, my father-in-law gave me this advice, "Wherever you work, make yourself valuable."
It is imperative that you are competent at your work. Skill and knowledge are essential, but only foundational.
To really stand out in the marketplace you need the following 5 qualities:
Employers want team members who are going to contribute to a positive work environment. They want employees with a 'can-do' attitude. I'm not talking about putting a happy face on everything but rather seeing the upside of things. It's easier to drag people down rather than lift them up. Be the exception. Be upbeat and energetic.
Many team members are simply putting in time. They do enough to get by. Set yourself apart by being proactive. Go beyond your job description. When you see a problem, suggest a solution. When you see a co-worker who is overwhelmed, jump in and give them a hand.
3. Service Orientation
When you go to a restaurant or a store, you can tell within a few seconds whether the person waiting on you is happy to be there or just putting in time. Be the kind of person who is easy to work and eager to help, whether it is a co-worker or an external customer. Being pleasant and helpful positively impacts the entire experience.
Humans are habit-oriented beings. We are comfortable with our routines. But in order for organizations to thrive, they need to be constantly changing and improving. Bucking change in your organization puts a drag on it moving forward. Be light on your feet, be flexible, be willing to learn new things. Abraham Lincoln once said, "Ride the horse in the direction that it is going."
Teamwork is absolutely necessary for any organization to win in the marketplace. Be a great team player. Give others credit. Ask for advice. Apologize when appropriate. Consider the other's point of view. Don't be competitive with those in your organization. If you don't enjoy collaborating, find a job that doesn't involve working with people. Drive a tractor-trailer across country, be an author and write books in your place of solitude. But companies need everyone to be a team player.
Research shows that 75% of job success is due to 'soft-skills' not technical competence. Practicing these 5 qualities will give you a competitive advantage in the marketplace.