Could Emotional Intelligence be the Key to Your Job Search?

When looking for a job, it’s easy to focus on the tangibles. Education? Check! Experience? Check! Killer resume and interview attire? Check and check!

But are those things enough?

DSC_0623Oftentimes, the thing that gets you hired is more intangible. When searching for the perfect hire, companies are looking for employees that are smart and capable, of course; but the elusive quality of emotional intelligence is as important as the tangible factors in the hiring process.

So exactly what is emotional intelligence? In an article entitled, “Why You Should Improve Your Emotional Intelligence Before a Job Search,” succinctly defines emotional intelligence as “a set of skills that govern how we perceive ourselves, how we control our emotions, how we manage our time, and how good are we at relating to other people, their experiences, and their emotions.”

Some people are better at these things than others; and unfortunately, evidence of low emotional intelligence can be conveyed in the interview process without one even realizing it. So exactly how can you improve your emotional intelligence and how potential employers see you?

  1. Understand the job search is stressful. Oftentimes searching for a job drums up feelings of fear, unease and frustration. Try to find peace in the process and approach it with an open mind. Don’t allow the negative emotions to overtake you. Breathe.
  2. Let go of any residual anger. Maybe your job didn’t end on a positive note, you didn’t have a great relationship with a boss or co-worker, or you are still irritated by the dynamic at your former company. But let it go. Nothing can be gained from expressing these feelings with a future employer or on social media. Take responsibility for your share of it, find the lessons, and move on.
  3. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Throw artifice, ego and diffidence out the window. Be truly honest with yourself and others. What do you do well? What are your blind spots? Employers want the real picture. Don’t waste your time or anyone else’s trying to be something that you aren’t.
  4. Be open to challenges. Sometimes, a slightly altered path may be just what the doctor ordered. Be open! There may be opportunities and advantages to a change of career or a return to school for additional training. Listen to what others are telling you and be open to making the changes that may come about.
  5. Examine your motivation. The best employees are properly motivated. Are you able to sacrifice the short-term for long-term benefit? Are you motivated by immaterial experiences and rewards? Check your perspective and make sure it’s a healthy one.
  6. Don’t neglect your social skills. A big part of emotional intelligence is empathy and kindness.

In the article entitled, “Emotional Intelligence Has 12 Elements. Which Do You Need to Work On?”, provides the following graphic to help assess emotional intelligence:

Emotional Intelligence

So take a full, honest assessment of where you lie on the spectrum, and make any adjustments necessary. Your professional life will be richer. And your personal life will be richer!