The Resume versus Work Performance Gap: 7 Steps to Level Up from Mediocre to Excellent
Resumes are often filled with words like excellent and superior, but when it comes to work performance evaluations, the feedback can be less than stellar. Many individuals find themselves stuck in a gap between the image they present on paper and the reality of their work performance. Whether you’re starting your first job, aiming for a promotion, or interviewing candidates for a position, it’s essential to evaluate your skills and adaptability. Here are seven steps you can take to close the gap between your resume and work performance and climb from mediocre to excellent.
1. Show up consistently and on time
The first step towards achieving excellence is also the most basic one. It’s essential to show up for work consistently and on time. A survey conducted by CareerBuilder found that 32% of workers call in sick when they aren’t ill, and 27% arrive late for work at least once a month. When you apply for a job, you’re committing to the organization and should prioritize your responsibilities. Consistently showing up on time shows your dedication and commitment to the job.
2. Know the work culture and adapt
Organizational culture encompasses the set of rules for working together, including the organization’s values, visions, and working language. It’s made up of shared beliefs, attitudes, and underlying assumptions. Your work culture can vary from a tech company, a corporate office, a law firm, the arts, or a hospital, among others. Take time to understand the culture and its protocols and dress codes, especially when meeting with clients. Observing proper etiquette, dress and behavior are non-negotiables in any workplace.
3. Understand that the workplace is for work
The workplace is a professional environment that requires focus and discipline. Although it’s understandable to look forward to after-work activities, you must stay focused on the job at hand during work hours. Avoid interruptions or delays due to socializing or personal calls and take full advantage of your downtime. By maintaining a strong work ethic, you’ll avoid errors, improve your performance, and gain credibility.
4. Be a team player and learn to compromise
Interpersonal skills are more important than technical expertise when it comes to team dynamics. You could be a highly skilled chef, but if your attitude and behavior disrupt the team’s performance, you may find yourself out of a job. Being a team player is about compromise, working well with others, and sharing credit. In a team selection process, individuals who work well with others are often favorably considered over highly skilled but problem-causing candidates.
5. Communicate effectively, repeat, and check
Effective communication is critical to any successful team. Verbal communication is at the top of the list of ten essential skills employers actively look for when hiring new employees. Many misunderstandings at work stem from the “I’m Sure It Was Obvious” effect, where individuals assume that they’ve communicated effectively without double-checking. To avoid errors or confusion, clarify instructions, ask others to repeat, and check-in on task progress often.
6. Do more than expected
Going the extra mile signifies commitment and dedication. Whether it’s compiling a list of contacts, preparing a handover report, or organizing a conference, doing more than expected means adding value to the company. It’s a way to acquire knowledge, develop new skills, and prove your value. Employees who go above and beyond their job responsibilities are less likely to be rated as mediocre and may even earn promotion based on their work ethic.
7. Think with innovation, creativity, and flexibility
Innovation, creativity, and flexibility are key attributes that employers need to drive company growth. The flux report, a 2014 survey of 250 line managers and 100 HR decision-makers, highlights these attributes as key skills that need to be developed to enhance productivity. With more and more people taking on multiple careers or working on a contract basis, it’s essential to stay informed about industry trends, continually update your skills, and remain open to new ways of doing things. By being innovative and flexible, you can avoid being made redundant and advance your career.
Striving for excellence means bridging the gap between your resume and work performance. By making an effort to show up consistently, understand work culture, remain focused, work well with others, communicate effectively, go the extra mile and approach tasks with innovation, creativity, and flexibility, you can set yourself apart from mediocre employees. These adjustments in attitude can help you earn the title of being an excellent employee and give your career a boost.