In your opinion, what characteristics make job seekers most attractive to employers? If you were to make a list of such traits, perhaps “hard working,” “honest,” “skilled,” and “educated” would be at the top. While all of these are good qualities for job seekers to possess, none is more important than open-mindedness.
How Important is Open-Mindedness to Employers?
Almost any employer would agree that open-mindedness is a characteristic that all job seekers should have. Neil Kokemuller, writer for the Houston Chronicle, says, “Open-mindedness is one of the most sought-after employee traits. Being open-minded means you have a willingness to listen to other ideas and opinions and consider the possibility that you are wrong or may change your own perspective.”
Not only are open-minded individuals willing to listen to new ideas and opinions, but they are usually also open to taking fresh approaches to problem solving. It is worth mentioning that job seekers who possess this quality are usually easier to get along with than their closed-minded counterparts. When you put yourself in an employer’s shoes, it’s easy to see why open-mindedness is such a desirable quality in an employee.
Open-Mindedness Preserves a Job Seeker’s Sanity
Job seeking is notoriously draining to the emotions. Pair that with angst caused by a lack of income, and you’ll have a recipe for unparalleled stress.
No matter how long you’ve been looking for a position, you can preserve your sanity by staying open-minded. Why? Because this quality is inherently positive, and positivity will keep you going during a long, grueling job search. Remember, your attitude is “arguably the most important piece of your job search.”
Tips for Cultivating Open-Mindedness
If you are not a naturally positive, open-minded person, that doesn’t mean you can’t cultivate these qualities. These two simple tips, inspired by Danielle DiPirro’s article The Five Secret Strategies of Great People: How to Become Open-Minded in 2013, may help you in your quest to cultivate genuine open-mindedness:
1. Learn to listen – As stated in Stephen R Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” In other words, talk less and listen more. Listening opens up our minds to new perspectives and teaches us that we don’t have all the answers; this increases our gratefulness for the valuable opinions of others. The simple, humble act of listening is perhaps the most efficacious way of becoming a more open-minded person.
2. Don’t make hasty decisions – The habit of making snap decisions is a hallmark of closed-minded individuals. Open-minded individuals gather all the facts before they make decisions. For example, don’t allow an unreturned email to lead you to believe that a potential employer dislikes you; such extreme thinking could cause you to decide against interviewing for a position that may be perfect for you. Seek the facts instead of making snap judgments based on limited (and often misleading) information.
Open-mindedness is a trait that has the ability to magnetize you as a job seeker to the right organization and unlock doors of opportunity. Give yourself an edge by cultivating open-mindedness; doing so may just land you the job of your dreams.
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