On a recent trip to London I was sitting in a bar watching a barman making cocktails, and after an hour it struck me that he was working non-stop, which got me thinking - what does being a hard worker involve? Is it just being busy and non-stop working, or is there more to it?
Nearly every CV profile we see includes the word ‘hardworking’, but what does it really mean? Often when we ask a candidate to give us an example or provide more details about what makes them a hard worker, they struggle to put it into words! So what gives someone the right to claim this accolade?
There’s not really a simple or straight forward answer, but here are some ideas to consider:
Putting 100% effort into your work
Working extra-long hours
Working at high intensity, completing a large volume of work in a reduced time frame
Diligent and consistent, maintaining high standards at all times, above the average level
Being organised / planning work in order to be as productive as possible
Going the extra mile - take initiative, identify opportunities and independently generate productive work
Highly focused with the ability to maintain concentration
Never giving up!
It’s commonly known if you work hard you’ll succeed, but hard work doesn’t guarantee success either, choose the ways that you want to work hard based on the nature of the tasks and your ultimate goal. Always ask yourself why you want or need to work hard. If you’re doing it to impress your boss and earn more money, putting in the overtime could be the right way to go. On the other hand, taking 12 hours to complete eight hours' worth of work isn’t going to impress anyone!
Working hard is also about working efficiently. There’s no point running around in circles, kidding ourselves that we’re working hard when all we’re really doing is keeping ourselves busy and potentially creating unnecessary stress! It’s important to identify what’s valuable to both your employer and to yourself - if you spend great lengths of time on a task that your employer wants taken care of as quickly and straightforwardly as possible, this probably isn’t ‘working hard’ and certainly not efficiently. The same is true of churning through many tasks quickly, but with a level of quality that is below standard.
It could be thought that hard work is unpleasant, tiring or boring, but a key to working hard is to really enjoy your work, taking great care and focus which will in turn make us more productive. When this is the case, long hours don’t seem as bad, especially when you’re absorbed in a task, time will pass quickly and it may not even feel like hard work, but engaging and energising.
Employers value a strong work ethic in their employees and will try to identify hard workers in their recruitment process. Having the ability to work hard could therefore make you more likely to land a job in the first place, as well as to gain a promotion (although not necessarily), but remember if you claim to be hard working on your CV you must be able to back this up in an interview scenario!
Select.je specialises in permanent, temporary, contract and executive recruitment for office professionals, predominantly within the finance industry, as well as pre-employment screening, skills testing and training. For honest advice, without the hard sell call 01534 88 88 66, visit: select.je or email if you prefer firstname.lastname@example.org