Monday, December 19, 2011

Paralegal Careers: The No. 1 Personality Trait You Need for Success

Many studies, surveys and discussions focus on the personality traits needed for career success.

Some say it’s confidence. Others list high self-esteem, assertiveness, attitude, etc. There really isn’t a clear picture of what it takes to have a successful career. It seems that a lot depends on the career and the individal.

One thing I do see in common among all of my successful paralegal friends – and there are many – is this: they are persistent.

Why is persistence so important?

With anything you do, you must have a stick-with-it attitude when the going gets tough. There is no quick fix or easy outcome for anything worth doing. If you are looking for quick and easy, you are apt to quit.

The going can get tough – very tough -- when you are building a successful career.

The tough times may be financial. They may be emotional or stressful. They probably include completing your education, finding and doing your job, working on association projects, pursuing certification – and more. Hard times can even be all of these simultaneously.

You see, it is all tough and you have to be persistent through it all. The people who make a success of their careers keep going, even when the going gets tough. This takes strength and faith and a good support system, but above all else persistence is key.

Persistence leads to consistency. To build a career that can sustain itself requires consistency. If you’re not consistent in your efforts, you may as well quit.

Consistency means you do the things that build your career on a regular basis. You show up when you say you will. You keep appointments and commitments. You do what you say you will do. In other words, you deliver and you do that 24/7.

What this looks like. A common mistake is thinking that behavior on the job is significantly different from behavior after the work day is finished and that after-work actions have nothing to do with career success. This is not true.

In the legal community, when you make a commitment you must meet that commitment. That includes meeting deadlines, having a rapport with clients, and being on time for work. People expect you do show up and to do what you say you will do. If you do not, you appear unprofessional at best, untrustworthy at worst.

You grow your career every day and your behavior 24/7 says everything about your character and the depth of your commitment, as well as whether or not you can be trusted.

Unfortunately, it is not easy to be persistent so those who work through the hard times and come through when they promise are often a rarity. If you have persistence, you will stand apart from your colleagues who don’t have that important trait.

Sometimes it can be easy to be persistent – such as returning phone calls promptly and being on time for appointments. Other times, it can take more work, especially when it means doing something you would rather not do in the first place.

When you see your efforts to be persistent pay off with good results -- increased responsibilities, salary and job satisfaction -- and people are singing your praises to colleagues, you will realize the power of persistence and understand why persistence is the No. 1 trait you need for career success.

Your challenge: Are you persistent? Do you have what it takes to keep going when the going gets tough? Think about this. Examine the times when you look for the easy way out. How can you turn that around so that you meet your career goals?
© 2011 Vicki Voisin, Inc.

Do you want to use this article in your newsletter, ezine or Web site? You can, so long as you include this entire blurb with it: Vicki Voisin, "The Paralegal Mentor", delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by setting goals and determining the direction they will take their careers. Vicki spotlights resources, organizational tips, ethics issues, and other areas of continuing education to help paralegals and others reach their full potential. She publishes Paralegal Strategies, a weekly e-newsletter for paralegals, and co-hosts The Paralegal Voice, a monthly podcast produced by Legal Talk Network.

More information is available at where subscribers receive Vicki's 151 Tips for Your Career Success.

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