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Initiative

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Taking initiative means: on your own initiative, without the encouragement of someone else, taking action or initiating action, instead of waiting. If you've initiative, you identify opportunities and problems, make proposals and propose solutions or you take action yourself. You immediately collect relevant information and work in a well-considered manner.

Examples of taking initiative

- In meetings and discussions you regularly come first with proposals and solutions. In projects you often take the lead for joint actions. If something goes wrong or stagnates, then you undertake something to get the process going again or to speed it up. You can practice this if you've to work together in a group in your study If you aspire to a new position, you send an open application to the employer of your choice.
- In a negotiation you take the initiative by proposing a compromise.
- If you are looking for a job, you are actively looking for sensible time uses that increase your chances for a 'real' job, such as courses, volunteer work or an internship.
- In a conversation you can consciously ask a closed question to provoke a simple yes / no answer, so that you can determine the further course of the conversation.
- When dealing with difficult people, it's not always effective to respond naturally to their behavior. If someone attacks you then you tend to defend yourself. The trick is to turn the initiative around: you choose your own behavior and then the tricky person will react in a certain way. De Roos van Leary is a widely used tool for this.

Little initiative

Someone who has little initiative:

- is passive and waits for what the environment does
- is cautious about changes, or opposes them
- sees few opportunities, or thinks they are for others
- stays dubious for a long time and is concerned about decisions

Five tips for more initiative

- Allow yourself to decide yourself. Don't wait for others to join the initiative.
- Make choices and act accordingly. Remember: you don't have to make the best decision, but one that works.
- Don't wait for inspiration. Get creative.
- Take responsibility. Try to stick your neck out a little more often and voluntarily take charge of projects or tasks.
- No words but deeds. Keep your promises and do what you've said.

How do you demonstrate initiative when applying?

A charity requires an initiative- rich press officer in a job advertisement. You wonder what they mean by that. A good cause often has to be in the news, because name recognition is extremely important. As a press officer you will have to take a lot of initiative to get the charity well 'in the picture'.

In your current job as a press officer you work for multiple departments and aldermen. You had the task of promoting the city's 450th anniversary. You have developed various ideas for this and presented them to the B&W college. You state this in your.application letter and process it in your CV. You can then explain the great success of the organization of all festivities in the conversation.

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