3 Ways To Build A Strong Work Ethic

Two co-workers work late to finish a project.

Have you written on your resume that you have a strong work ethic?

Don't! A strong work ethic isn't something that you write about on a resume or cover letter. Instead, it's something that you prove on a daily basis, and building a strong work ethic may be trickier than you think.

Work ethic can be a very subjective term. What one individual may define as a good work ethic could differ greatly from what a colleague, supervisor, or organization defines as a good work ethic.

It's fine if a professional reference, like a former colleague or supervisor, praises your work ethic. But you should never just assume that you have a strong work ethic. We can always do better.

That being said, there are a few things that we can all do to put ourselves in position to be praised for our work ethics.

Always Be Humble

Staying humble is an important factor in fitting into the workplace.


This applies to veteran workers with loads of experience and talented newcomers with fresh ideas. You should always take a humble approach.

For newcomers, you may have a great education and all the confidence in the world, but you can't just march into a new job like you already own the place. You have to take time to get a sense of the workplace, and the expectations. Take some time to listen and learn, and then you can slowly carve your spot into the workplace.

In the case of experienced workers, it doesn't matter how good you think you are at your job, you need to be ready to adapt to change at a moment's notice. When you've been at a job for a long time, it's easy to get stuck in your old ways. But, not only is that bad for career growth, but it comes across as cocky and stubborn when job expectations begin to change.

Take Control Of Your Career

There are still many in the workforce that have this outdated notion that their employer is responsible for coaching them and helping them advance their career. But the fact is that as soon as an employee starts a new job, it's up to that employee to be the driving force behind learning that job, and eventually advancing in it.

The whole reason that you were hired was because of your ability to provide a service, and the responsibility is on you to provide that service. However, that doesn't mean you can't ask your boss or supervisor for guidance or advice. It's just that you should be doing it as you're taking initiative, not sitting around at your desk waiting for help or feedback.

The same goes for career planning. You should always seek out opportunities to grow your career, and make suggestions on how you can grow at your position and at your workplace. If you go to your boss with a good plan that will ultimately make the company more efficient, and profitable, you'll get their support.

Be Willing To Help Others

Two co-workers collaborate together to solve a problem.


While it's important to do everything you need to do to get your own career on track, it's also important to share your knowledge and experience with others. Taking time to mentor or help a co-worker shows a great deal of leadership.

It shows that you're not only trying to better yourself, but you're being a team player and trying to make those around you better, which ultimately benefits the entire workplace. By taking the time to lead by example, you become an important resource for your co-workers and may someday put yourself in position for a promotion.

In addition, the willingness to help others reflects well on your character and work ethic, two things that you want everyone praising if you ever decide to leave for a new opportunity.

The small things that you do on a daily basis to better yourself, and your workplace, add up over time and create a large impact. That's what it takes to build a strong work ethic. Take the opportunity to lead by example on a daily basis and ultimately your accomplishments, and references, will speak to your work ethic, so you don't have to!

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There you are: sitting on the beach, covered in sunscreen, reading your favorite book, drinking your favorite drink under the cool shade of an umbrella. Life doesn't get any better than this. Suddenly, a door slams, a phone rings, a printer turns on. You jolt back into consciousness. You're at work, sitting in your cubicle, without even a hint of sunshine streaming in from outside.

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