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Employers search for candidates with more than a lengthy list of technical skills and educational accomplishments. While degrees, certificates, and knowledge are very important, high-quality employees bring personal skills to the table that are not taught in a classroom. The following traits are coveted by employers, but they will not be found in the average college course catalog.

Independence and Self-Motivation

Few managers have the time or the ability to walk employees through a task step by step. The ability to take a task and work independently to completion is essential, especially in small office environments. Taking the initiative to complete your work without an over-abundance of intercession or accolades frees management for more pressing issues.

Willingness to Learn

Employers need individuals who take constructive criticism and feedback and use it to improve their performance. Employees who enter reviews singularly focused on a raise in pay are missing out on opportunities to evolve in their position. Taking feedback and making tangible changes helps to improve processes and productivity for all involved. It also  shows dedication to your professional development. Take the initiative to grow by turning suggestions into a practical step. Are you lacking Microsoft Excel skills? Take a two-day seminar to sharpen your skills. Invest a little time to make positive improvements.


As processes evolve, so do job responsibilities. The willingness to adapt and accept additional responsibilities or trade in one set of tasks for another set of tasks is priceless to employers. Employees who can fluidly adapt to change draw positive attention from management. During transitional periods, the last words a manager wants to hear are “This is not my job”. Instead of pushing back against change, embrace it.


In a global work environment, flexibility is a key component to successful collaboration between departments. Whether it is opposite sides of the country or the globe, workers are often not in the same time zone or working the same schedule. Flexibility and willingness to work alternative schedules appeal to employers, especially those working in multiple markets.

Ability to Collaborate and Work in a Team Environment

Knowing how to communicate thoughts and opinions without demeaning or attacking others is crucial in team environments. Understanding and accepting that everyone has a voice and should be heard can make or break collaboration. Team members with attentive listening skills are as crucial as strong leading voices. Optimally team members need to have a balance of both skills. Walk into a team meeting with both strong words and impeccable listening skills and management will notice.

Taking the initiative to work independently, learn, adapt, be flexible, and collaborate with others are crucial parts of professional performance. Management desires these skills, but there is no college coursework to learn them. Personal development in these areas is as crucial to successful employment as technical training and degree programs. Use these skills to draw attention from employers and move forward in your professional pursuits.

If you are looking for more information on your employment journey, take a look at our Talent Blog. You can also contact us directly.

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Who is NEXTAFF? We are locally owned and operated staffing offices devoted to our communities, clients, and candidates throughout the United States. For more job tips and ideas, contact us. We are always hiring, so if you or someone you know is looking for work, check out our job board below and apply today! We are able to service all your staffing agency needs with local staffing offices in Sacramento-CA, Sonoma County-CA, Des Moines-IA, Raleigh-NC, Shawnee-KS, Topeka-KS, Detroit-MI, Kansas City-MO, Gulf Coast-MS, Phoenix-AZ, Miami-FL, Harrisburg-PA, Jackson-TN, Beaverton-OR, Pittsburgh-PA, and North Dallas-TX.