You’re beginning a job search and feeling quite smug about the portfolio of technical skills you have to offer employers. After all, when it comes to your particular field—accounting, IT, graphic design or whatever area you’re in—you’ve got the degree, certifications and experience.
But don’t be surprised if employers aren’t lining up outside your door. With the slowdown of the economy, there are plenty of people with strong technical skills competing for the few jobs available. If you really want to stand out above the crowd and impress a potential employer, wow them with your interpersonal skills.
What’s the most common form of business communication in your organization? If you’re like most companies, it’s e-mail. What’s the most commonly misinterpreted, abused, overused, annoying and generally frustrating form of communication in your organization? Yep, that’s what I thought.
E-mail has seemingly become the fifth basic life requirement to many of us: Oxygen, water, food, shelter—and e-mail. Not necessarily in that order, right? I know some folks who would probably go out into a snowstorm without a coat before they would ever consider going without e-mail for even a few minutes of their hectic day.
What are the three most powerful words in the English language? No, I’m not pitching the newest Kate Hudson movie. I’m talking about one of the boldest phrases you can ever utter in a business (or personal) setting.
“I did it.” Commonly preceded by “Oops,” this is one phrase often lacking in our busy lives. It’s so easy to blame others, the weather, technology, the dog or whatever that we sometimes seem to forget the ugly truth. Sometimes we make mistakes.
If you think bullying only takes place in the play yard at grade school, forget it. Think about the co-worker who makes your life miserable by backstabbing, lies about you or your department, or running to the boss with tales about your “mess-ups,” all geared toward them achieving their own agenda. How about the boss whose behavior can be so outrageous you wonder if there’s a “kick me” target on your back? If you’ve been in the work world any length of time, you’ve no doubt encountered bullying behavior of one sort or another. Most of us have—or will at some point in our careers. Even if you usually figure out a way to work with Mr./Ms. Crazy—or at least put up with them—you’re still left feeling wrung out.
A friend asked me a while back if I could take a look at her computer because it was “acting funny.” She knew I was a “computer person” and assumed that I could help with her issue. It took some time, but I finally figured out what the problem was. I didn’t have to tell her I wasn’t that kind of “computer person” or refer her to someone else.
Oftentimes in business, I think we generalize people’s roles a bit too much. We say, “that’s the IT guy” or “she’s in sales,” and so on. May work for casual conversation, but I think it’s important to recognize that people do tend to develop specializations as they go down their chosen career paths.