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When we use our initiative, we think for ourselves and tend to take action before anyone else does. 

It’s all about:  taking charge, decision-making and resourcefulness.

Your initiative skill

You may have used your initiative to take on extra tasks at work, college, school or home, without being told to.

For example, if you’re going on holiday, you may print important documents and book activities in advance. By planning your holiday and what you’ll need, you’ll be prepared to handle any changes or problems throughout your trip.

Initiative is about being independent, trusting your own decisions and knowing your abilities – without influence from others.

Top tips for developing initiative

  1. In general: Tidying up the mess in the kitchen after cooking, without being asked.
  2. In school: Thinking ahead and bringing items you need for class, such as books, pencils, jotters or calculators.
  3. In work: Booking a meeting room ahead of a project in case you need space to work with others at short notice.

Describing your initiative to employers

Employers will want to hear about how you’ve shown initiative in your CVs, applications and interviews. They’ll want to know you can work well on your own, even if a manager isn’t watching or guiding you.  You may be asked to describe a time you:

  • acted in the moment to find a solution
  • trusted your abilities and worked well on your own without supervision
  • predicted the outcome of a situation and acted in advance to ensure the best result

Applying your skills

Explore different ways you can apply your skills and learn more about them.