How to convey a strong work ethic

Q: My girlfriend, who is 50 years old, has a crazy old-school work ethic but can’t get hired! She’s been in the IT field for years. Her last job paid her 60,000+ but she left because of management! She really tried her best to stay. How do you put great work ethic on a resume?

A: A strong work ethic is often an important attribute in a successful professional career. However, you have pointed out that it is difficult to convey this attribute to prospective employers.

Let’s back up a few steps before I address your specific concern. If your girlfriend is getting interviews, her resume is likely quite strong. However, if landing interviews is a challenge, then her resume probably needs some work. If your girlfriend is landing interviews, but not getting job offers, then it may be her interviewing skills, her skill set or the competition.

Recommend that she includes her work ethic in her elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a 1-2 minute summary about her work history, personal attributes (like work ethic) and what type of role she would consider for the next step in her career. This pitch needs to be practiced and refined.

The other way she can tout her work ethic is on her LinkedIn profile. She should mention her work ethic in her summary at the top of her profile. Also, if there are recommendations on her profile, this attribute (along with others) can be highlighted.

Lastly, her professional network should know that her work ethic is a differentiator. It is an attribute that could set her apart from her competition. When a colleague within her network describes her (especially to an employer or someone who could be a source of job leads), then this contact should immediately describe her tireless approach to work and her willingness to do what it takes.


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