Being self-motivated and taking initiative is vitally important to most employers. No one wants to babysit a new member of staff through their work. Equally, however, it is not right to simply ignore instructions or advice and do what you feel is right. So how do you get a balance?
What is self-motivation?
Being self-motivated is about doing your job well because you want to, and not simply because it pays your wages. Self-motivated individuals want to be the best they can be regardless of where they work and will often take responsibility for projects even when they do not need to.
Self-motivated individuals tend to:
- Work longer and later than others
- Learn new skills and take regular training courses
- Take ownership of problems
- Become team leaders
- Go above and beyond their job description
Why do employers want self-motivated people?
Self-motivated employees need a lot less managing than less determined individuals, so are highly sought after by recruitment agencies and HR departments.
If you are self-motivated, you will normally want everything you do to be of the highest quality and you will always see the bigger picture that the company is looking at. Self-motivated individuals are motivated by improving themselves, and they only way they can do this is by making the company they work for better.
How can you show you have it?
Desire and self-motivation are difficult qualities to show. Expect to be asked questions about times when you have risen to a challenge or taken control of a situation. Employers are looking for people who have taken charge of a situation and solved it in a creative or innovative way. Fundraising is a good way to show initiative, as is times when you've identified a problem and come up with a solution.
You can also demonstrate self-motivation by emphasising the quality of your work and the impact it has had on your studies or previous jobs.
How is self-motivation used in the world of work?
It is much easier to demonstrate self-motivation once you've actually landed the job. Little things like getting to work ten minutes early are noticed. Make sure you ask your manager questions and show a desire to do well - if your manager identifies an issue, go away, think about it and try to come up with a solution. Enthusiasm can go a long way.