Survey - Adaptability Key to Getting Ahead at Work

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QUICK-CHANGE ARTISTS - Adaptability Key to Getting Ahead at Work, Survey Shows

An unwillingness to try new things could harm your career prospects, a new survey suggests. More than one-third (35 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) polled recently said embracing change is a critical success factor for employees. Twenty-seven percent feel a desire to learn new skills is the most valuable characteristic.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world's first and largest temporary staffing service for accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with more than 20 employees.

CFOs were asked, "Which one of the following characteristics do you consider most necessary for an employee to succeed?" Their responses:

Adapts easily to change - 35%
Motivated to learn new skills - 27%
Strong interpersonal skills - 15%
Welcomes increased responsibility - 13%
Willing to work long hours - 5%
Don't know/no answer - 5%

"Companies must constantly reinvent themselves to remain competitive in today's business environment, and employees need to respond accordingly," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Managing Your Career For Dummies® (Hungry Minds, Inc.). "Accounting professionals who can not only adapt to change but also help drive it are well positioned for long-term success."

To distinguish themselves from the competition, job seekers should demonstrate their versatility, said Messmer. "In cover letters and during job interviews, cite examples of how you've viewed change as an opportunity rather than an obstacle."

Messmer also advised professionals to make a personal commitment to continued learning. "Absorb as much as you can," he said. "Attend trade conferences, read industry publications, take classes, network with others in your profession – take every opportunity to identify and acquire the skills you need to be a peak performer."

Accountemps has more than 325 offices throughout North America, Europe and Australia, and offers online job search services at

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