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Jun 30, 2016

A Public Relations Guru’s Perspective on the “10 Things That Require Zero Talent”

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If you’ve been on LinkedIn (or any other social media platforms) recently, you’ve probably seen the “10 Things That Require Zero Talent” list in rotation across your news feeds. When I first saw it, I smiled to myself, as nearly every single point listed has been considered, emphasized and put into practice in building the workplace culture at NRPR Group. Because of this, I wanted to take a moment to expand and elaborate on the importance of each of these points in becoming an exceptional professional.

First, let me say: These are ten key qualities that cannot be proven on a resume. When hiring, Tom Bilyeu, President & Co-Founder of Quest Nutrition, follows what he calls “The 7 Second Rule.” He says he can sense whether an interviewee’s energy is positive or negative within the first seven seconds of meeting them. I am similar, in that I can sense someone’s energy even over the phone. I pay close attention to tone, confidence and enthusiasm. As I continue to build my team, I look for a certain essence of a person.

I know from experience that that ‘X-factor’ can’t be taught. A resume can only show three things for certain: can you write your own name, have you used a spell-check tool, and do you know the power of presentation? People with beautiful resumes are remembered. We put extra care into the packaging for our clients, so people who take the time to do that personally will stand out. But, that is still just the resume. These ten tips are everything else you can (and should) bring to the job that require no skill and zero talent:

1. Being on Time: Punctuality is not a talent that requires honed athletic skill or genetic gifting. Being on time, that’s respect. It’s respect for other people’s time; it’s putting yourself in their shoes; it’s being two steps ahead. We all struggle with being tardy at times, but if you are that person who is constantly late, that’s an interpersonal problem. You have to work it out. Punctuality is a learned habit that may not always be noted when done right, but will surely prove crippling if not practiced.

2. Work Ethic & Effort: Having personal ethics and an enthusiasm to excel in work (meaning: attention to detail, ensuring everything you turn in is of top-quality and practicing integrity) is an expression of interpersonal development. As an employee, effort equals your essence. As an employer, it’s really easy to read when minimal or lackluster effort has been expended on a task. I’d much rather hire someone who has failed before, after trying his/her hardest, because at least that person is teachable.

3. Body Language & Energy: If your body language is sluggish, that’s a direct reflection of your energy. It doesn’t require skill to stand up straight. It requires confidence. It requires an awareness of your body. And it requires a positive mental attitude. A sluggish energy is not to be trusted. Those that can be trusted radiate a positive, productive, pleasant energy. People who are motivated in business and vibrant in life exhibit an energy that is infectious and inspirational. We all have our bad days, but through rest, meditation, therapy, exercise, (etc.), we can leave that negative baggage outside of the office and, as a result, elevate the entire working culture.

4. Attitude/Humility: Attitude determines everything, good or bad. If you have a bad attitude and are easily fixated on the negative, you will be a difficult employee to work with. But if you are able to approach each situation (especially bad situations), positively and with an attitude of gratitude, you will enhance every room you walk into, in business and in life.

5. Passion/Ownership: Passion has to come from within – from setting goals and wanting to reach them. It is the X-factor that helps you overcome hurdles when they are put in front of you… because there will always be hurdles. Your passion will push you through. I have never aspired to be average. I have a passion to excel. If you are personally invested in your work, you will go well beyond the struggles that could have otherwise defeated you.

6. Being Coachable: Most of us enter the workforce knowing nothing. We start with a blank slate. Because of this, everybody needs to be open to being coached. If you are the type of person who thinks you know everything, who has all the answers and will not listen, it requires no talent to learn, but it requires too much energy to have you on the team.

7. Doing Extra: It’s the people who do extra in their work without being told to who shine. If you are the type of person who can go the extra mile, you become indispensable. Going above and beyond shows that you actually care about and believe in the company you are working for. That, there, is something that an employer cannot put a value on. Oftentimes, when a person acts selflessly, he/she will be rewarded for it in the long run.

8. Being Prepared: There is no single mistake that I have seen make someone a failure in the professional world more than not being prepared. I have had several people come to interview with me who don’t have copies of their resume with them, or a pen. They didn’t research the company and didn’t plan to ask me any questions. Their resumes were all strong, their references spoke well of them. But they basically walked into an opportunity where they could have wowed me, and they threw it away through unpreparedness. In any business situation, you must always be thinking of at least five ways that you can impress the client, the team and your boss through proper preparation. Knowing the answer before the question gets asked… that doesn’t require talent, it requires time, and care.

Lastly, I would like to add that (9.) Honesty and (10.) Transparency are game-changing personality traits. Exhibiting the habits listed above will blossom you into an exceptional professional, but practicing honesty and transparency on top of them will earn you the long-lasting respect, trust and favor of those you work with/for. All of these traits involve nothing that you learned in college, or in a classroom, to be a better professional. They have everything to do with what you have learned in life and through life, to be a better person. May your struggles make you a better person in your personal and professional lives!

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