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Added Effort Goes a Long Way in the Workplace

June 3, 2014 | Career Blog


Never underestimate the power of effort. It’s amazing how much you can set yourself apart in a job interview and in the workplace if you take that extra step. 

Effort can apply to everything from your attire for an interview to the creation of your resume and portfolio. Check out this piece from Inc. magazine by Jason Fried, who was hiring a product designer at Basecamp, which develops project management tools. Effort was the one trait that got Fried’s attention. Anyone can come in with a resume or send a vanilla cover letter via email but the trick is to think beyond what everyone else is doing. 

Create a customized cover letter that explains why you’re a good fit for this job and for the company as a whole, which shows you did your homework on the company culture. Develop a portfolio of examples of your work that truly speak to what you can bring to this specific company and be prepared to talk about them – how you came up with the idea, challenges you faced and the final execution of the project. 

Indicate a willingness to learn. Just because you’re missing one of the qualifications listed in a job announcement doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply. This is especially true if it’s a skill you honestly believe you can truly learn quickly. If you’re computer savvy, but don’t happen to know QuickBooks, let the interviewer know (or share in your cover letter) your ease with computer programs and your desire to learn. 

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Don’t let your effort and enthusiasm fall by the wayside once you get the job. You were hired because of the extra effort and motivation you displayed during the application and interview process so keep it up long after your title as “new kid on the block” has faded. Your willingness to learn and go the extra mile will continue to pay off in terms of positive feedback, monetary incentives and promotions.