The corporate world is competitive. Doing well in your job and moving forward can be stressful and challenging. One of the immediate concerns when starting out your career is often how you can excel and what will set you apart.

The following characteristics or traits can guide you on the right path.

Be professional

Be courteous, friendly, tactful and respect your colleagues and yourself. Take pride in everything you do and always aim to deliver above the expected standard.  

Strong work ethics 

When you have strong work ethics you will earn the respect of others.  Dependability is the foundation upon which all relationships are built. Your team needs to know that they can count on you and trust you.  

Be punctual 

Show that you care about your career and respect your colleague’s schedules.  Ask yourself who is more likely to be promoted - the employee who arrives on time every day or the one who is always late?

Be a team player

This can be much harder than it sounds. Sometimes you will have to put your team’s priorities first, even at the expense of your own. This might mean staying late to help a fellow trainee or forfeiting your ticket to a match between your favourite football teams.

Know when to ask for help

Apply the 5-minute rule. If you do not understand something, don’t be shy and ask. It is understandable that you will not grasp everything at the start. Trainees are encouraged to ask and to adopt a life-long learning mindset. Asking will not only afford you the opportunity to get a better understanding but will also help manage your manager’s expectations and ensure that you deliver the work on time.

Stay off social media during work hours 

Minimise texting and making personal calls during working hours. Put your phone on silent and only respond to personal messages while on a break.

Have a positive attitude 

Attitudes can be contagious; people love working with someone who has a positive mindset. A positive attitude affects everything from how you work, how you feel, your relationships with your colleagues and clients and your productivity.

Be dedicated 

If you are truly dedicated to your job, your dedication will not go unnoticed.  

Develop professional relationships 

When people know each other well, they are much more likely to work well together. The development of good relationships can increase an employee’s morale and make the workplace much more fun.  

Along with the above always focus on what you wish to achieve in your career. Keeping those traits and behaviours in mind will help you excel in your career; put you on the path to true greatness and achieving your ultimate career goals.

Marita Cloete 

Manager: Audit Staff & Resourcing, Johannesburg