What Are Some Free Things People Can Do to Make Themselves a More Attractive Employee?

What are some things such as courses, certifications and etc that are free that people can do to make them a better employee?


  • +1

    What industry, role or level? Makes a difference.

    • -2

      trying to make this a general thread for all

      • +3

        I'd recommend resources that either develop or overall increase abilities that an employer would value.

        • good advice

      • +10

        Then I'd say generically being (much) better than the average employee would help. Even better if you can be cheaper than the average employee.

      • +3

        Identify as female
        Identify as aboriginal torist straight islander (government/not for profit jobs)
        Change your address on CV to a suburb near work
        Talk to ppl in your interested industry to gain lingo
        Dress nice with what you got on interview
        Dont get sweaty before going to interview to prevent sweat marks and BO

        • +7

          Not sure why you got negged, all your points are true and literally make a difference. Anyone who’s done hiring before would know this.

        • Change your address on CV to a suburb near work

          <Hiring Manager at interview> "Hey, it seems you're my next door neighbour. Why don't I recognise you?"

      • +24

        10 things that require zero talent.

        1 Be on time
        2 Make an effort
        3 Be passionate
        4 Bring energy
        5 Do a little extra
        6 Be positive
        7 Be prepared
        8 Have a strong work ethic
        9 Use good body language
        10 Be coachable

  • +13

    Aside from kissing boss A$$ .. one can do some related certification

    • +19

      Ass kissing certifications?

      • +30

        I know some people who are utterly useless at doing their job, but must have a bloody doctorate in Kissing Arse to get to where they are.

        • +2

          Are they hot?

        • +2

          They have the gift of the gab (ie selling/overselling themselves) . A lot of people that just get on with it don't.

    • +1

      Brown lipstick

      • Brown nose.

  • +6

    volunteer work.

    • Would it help even if volunteering work is totally different to your field? (Eg. Work in IT, volunteer for food van?)

      • +6

        It helps most if you volunteer your time after hours at work for no pay.

        • Thanks I totally didn’t even think about volunteering at work at all ;)

      • Anything that isn't sitting around doing nothing looks good. Also if you volunteer for a while it's pretty easy to pick-up a leadership role which will be very relevant. E.g. lead a team of 5 volunteers to do such and such.

  • +47

    The ability to sell yourself.
    It's amazing the number of people (engineers in my field) that are incredibly smart and well qualified and fall over in the interview stage because they can't communicate.

    • +9

      Working with engineers and technicians on a daily basis, I can't agree enough on this statement. So many talented people are sidelined and passed up for promotion or renumeration bonuses due to having their value unregcognised by their superiors and their inability to effectively communicate with management.

      • This is true, and engineers/technicians should be better at communicating.

        But if a company's best workers aren't getting rewarded for it, that's a management failure, not a worker failure.

        There are plenty of companies where the best programmers get the most respect and pay, even if they are socially awkward and not great communicators. And that's how it should be, because doing your job is your job, not selling yourself (or anything else).

        If a manager isn't enabling their best workers to get the actual work done, what are they doing? That's literally their only job.

    • +2

      a few of my mates do consulting work in environmental science and engineering and they speak very highly of a particular course / seminar. i'm not sure what exactly it was called but it taught negotiation techniques. the ability to communicate and get the other party to agree to a deal is critical once you get to high enough level. even when negotiating with internal people.

      • -2

        Negotiation for dummies?

    • What, specifically, would you recommend as a way to improve these skills?

      • +1

        argue with your wife?

    • +4

      I'm in engineering and I agree about communication. We have a lot of very smart guys from the sub-continent who are held back because of poor communication skills.

      I've seen the interview notes from when I joined my current employer (I've changed jobs internally twice since then and had to clean out the hiring managers office when he was made redundant).

      In terms of qualifications and technical knowledge I ranked 3rd out of 6 interviewees but I ranked 1st in communication skills and the job required me to confidently liaise with our Operations staff, our external maintenance providers and other stakeholders.

      Folks, if you are from NESB then work on your confidence and pronunciation. Try and slow down as I think when people are nervous they tend to speak too quickly. Combine that with a heavy accent and it can be hard to sell yourself properly. Maybe tape yourself and have a listen.

      PS: I have a very broad Aussie accent. When I do interviews or presentations I have to modify my accent and speech habits so that the whole audience understands me. It's not just the newbies that have issues.

  • people can do to make them a better employee?

    "courses, certifications and etc" are the tools. It's how you "behave" on top of that, which makes the difference.

    • are the tools

      Don’t be a tool.

      But, some employers would prefer this.

      Be the former not the latter.

  • +11

    Brush your teeth

    • +5

      shine ur shoes

      • +23

        Wear a mini skirt.

        • wow hold your horse!

        • +12

          My testicles might show!

    • +1

      Does that include flossing at work?

  • +11

    Do good work, follow through on your commitments, strive to achieve better outcomes for the business and its customers.

    On an assumption that you have the basic skills to do the job, these will count far more than a certification or similar.

    • +31

      Turn up on time,
      Have a positive attitude
      Always be willing to help
      Generate business for your employer
      Complete your work within agreed deadlines
      Build your team's capacity and cohesion
      Mentor and encourage junior staff
      Be presentable
      Build rapport with clients.

      All free - and all guaranteed to impress your boss.

      • +12

        This was fantastic. Can I submit two additions. Don't approach people with problems, and no options or input towards solutions (exceptions incoming). The idea is that detecting a problem is fine work, but does add another issue onto the workload of whatever superior or department is going to have to make a decision.

        State the facts.
        Give enough details to outline if the issue is catastrophic, minor, systemic, whatever.
        Say you have some thoughts about ways forward and would appreciate their input.
        Give people a couple decent choices and let them pick one, they'll remember you as a person that solves problems rather than adding to the pile (whether your fault or not). Make it a pattern where if you're raising issues, setting points to cover in meetings, people associate that with solving things and not struggling to resolve things.

        Also, if you genuinely have nothing to offer don't open your mouth just for the sake of it. They hired you, you're presumed somewhat competent unless you convince them your ideas are perfunctory drivel.

      • +1

        I will also add - don't show up hungover!

  • +4

    Groom themselves.

  • +6

    Bring the boss an apple every day.

  • +1

    Personal skills, like communicating effectively, being charismatic and likeable. Work on being self aware, how you may come across, and also understanding why others behave or do X things. Also how to persuade others, some people think accusing people or attacking is the way.
    Of course all of this is easier said than done.
    Some videos on youtube and books raise some good points.

  • +7

    do your research instead of creating generic topics in ozbargain

  • Suit up

    • +1

      Is that you Barney?

    • Do the research and match the style is the smarter idea. Look at the website. If everyone wears jeans and hoodie in the team photo show up in jeans and hoodie.

    • So 1990's, who wears a tie anymore in an office.

  • +9

    Do the work.
    Don’t talk all day and disrupt everyone else.
    Don’t make others look like idiots.
    Don’t smoke.
    Don’t make other people’s lives difficult

    • +5

      Funny you've mentioned those, the people who do the opposite to your list are the ones getting promoted quick smart.

  • +8

    under promise and over deliver

  • +4

    Become a card carrying member of a bikie gang

  • +1

    Present solutions, not just problems, to your superiors and colleagues. Before going to others with problems, come up with several possible solutions and a plan for the one that you think will work best. Finding problems that others don't even know they have will always be well regarded, as long as you can make a contribution to solving them. Clearly say what you are going to do, and then do it, below cost and more rapidly than planned. Work on the mantra: Does my plan for a product or process improve one or more of the following areas: faster, cheaper, better, safer, cleaner

    • What sort of industry does this happen in? Sounds really good but in my sheltered line of work I can't see how I could apply any of these.

      • +1

        I had hoped these attributes were generic! I think they worked for me in a technical field in a large company for 20 years and then 20 years of consulting. When consulting, the "say what you are going to do, and then do it quickly and below budget" is a sure winner.

        • +1

          My line of work has very strict proven procedures and rules. To deviate from them would be dismissal territory so I find it difficult to relate.

          • +1

            @MS Paint: I'm guessing here but maybe the concept would translate decently if you apply all rules and protocols in the most efficient and error-minimising manner. Cutting out some waste of resources (time, effort, money, others?) but not by cutting any corners.

  • +8

    Networking is the best way. In fact, its the best way to get insanely rich.

    There are directors that sit on many ASX companies. Even ABC recently got stacked with former Seven/Murdoch executives by LNP which Labor doesn't care to remove. Welcome to crony capitalism.

    • +1

      Labor can't remove them even if they wanted to.

  • Again, as per Kusama, Don't Smoke.
    Avoid using a Mobile Phone during your Interview, whilst working etc.
    NSW Tafe also have these courses.

  • What if my ability to sit at a desk quietly and get on with my paper-pushing work has only decreased since high school, where I was a restless yougster to put it charitably

  • Comb your hair

  • Don't spend money on a face tattoo: https://www.thetrendspotter.net/face-tattoos/

  • +2

    Avoid complaining too much. My number one dislike of co-workers is when their standard conversation is a having a whinge about something. EDIT: If you have a genuine grievance which should be rectified though, stand up for yourself and sort it out through proper channels, not just gasbag around the lunch table.

  • +5

    Hair grooming
    Shoe cleaning
    Actively listening
    Consideration for others

    (If you master just these few, you are likely a stand out employee)

  • +2

    Take a shower before work.

    • +4

      But what if I am 7 km from the nearest train station?

      • +3

        Take a shower at train station

        • +1

          but what if the train is full and you have to sit next to a man who walked 7km ?

  • +7

    Be a weapon at excel. That’s all you need.

    • lol, stop sharing our secret.

  • Never ask for a raise :(

    • +6

      nice try boss

  • These aren't all free but seem to always work for me - they are very low cost:

    1 - If you're making a snack - make a larger batch and offer to people in the office
    2 - When going to get a coffee offer everyone around you if they also want one. Rack up loyalty coffees on your loyalty card. Bonus if they pull their wallets out.
    3 - Buy $2 scratchies for people in your team leave it on their desk in the morning
    4 - Compliment everyone on something
    5 - Disqualify yourself from a number of potential negative perceptions by using statements like: "Well that's why we have XYZ manager to sort it all out !" or "Something I could never resolve it's above my pay grade" or "I may have to enlist someone with more skills like XYZ to tackle this one"
    6 - Invite people to stuff / outings / online gaming sessions / fantasy football groups / footy tipping

    If you bring brownies for everyone - you'll always get brownie points =)

    • +3

      That is literally the worst, kiss ass post i have ever seen. Grow a pair.

      • Unfortunately that's Office Politics for you. Alternatively you could "grow a pair" - let me know how that goes for you =)

        In the mean time have a snack, coffee, scratchie and some compliments XoXo

        • I feel sorry for you, buying scratchies for everyone, offering everyone food, being overly nice. Its obvious to everyone but you. its sad. Only you cant see it.

          • @DiscoJango: I know what you mean. The world needs less uppers and more downers like yourself.

            I'm sorry I can't help you with whatever sadness or pain you are going through - I can only suggest you look within and face your daemons.

            • @Altitud: Good advice, i would be very concerned if i had daemons!

              "In multitasking computer operating systems, a daemon (/ˈdiːmən/ or /ˈdeɪmən/) is a computer program that runs as a background process, rather than being under the direct control of an interactive user."

  • +2

    Join the ADF as a reservist.

    Learn leadership and management skills, develop network with other like minded reservists, Serve and contribute to Australia and collect tax free pay

    • +2

      not sure why 3 people feel that my suggestion deserves a neg

      it was a legitimate answer to OP's question.

      i myself am a reservist and what i do and learn transfers over to my corporate job, and vice versa - Dealing with people, time management, self-development and resilience are all skills people can develop and strengthen that makes them valuable employees.

      If people think that the ADF is just guns and shooting then its so much further from the truth.

    • this depends greatly on the boss's understanding of your reservist role.

      some boss's will love you for it and even seek photo ops and ask you to bring those army skills back,

      some boss's will think you are not focusing on your real job and discriminate against you.

      seen it go both ways.

      • whole heartedly agree with your comments.

        anything that takes focus away from your day job (hobbies, side projects/hustles/ even networking with others) can all be construed as a negative than a positive to a Boss whos reviewing your work (and therefore, your value)

        BUT, i think the benefits outweigh the negatives. after all, the choice was to be a reservist, not a Full timer. Reserve time is part time, not full time.
        Any training is better than no training.

        Theres a conundrum that sums it up:

        "What happens if you train people and they leave?
        What happens if you don't train them and they stay?"

  • +3

    If female, a boob job will always assist!!

    • +5

      I recall the time our secretary was being interview for the legal practice and when asked the question if she has big firm experience she answered that she has big firm boobs and so she got hired instantly.

      • +1

        and where do you work?

      • That's a funny joke

    • as a male, are you saying the money I spent on my boob job was wasted?

  • Sunscreen every day.

    • Your boss must be a cancer.