As we move into the 21st Century, the job industry is quickly changing; the job market has become WAY more competitive. For just one job posting, there could be hundreds of applicants – and they ALL might be suitable for the position. So how do you distinguish yourself from all of the other candidates?
In the 21st Century, employers are looking for more than just the technical skills. Organizations are starting to put more emphasis on soft – or interpersonal skills. Don’t get me wrong you still need to have the right technical skills in order to do the job, but organizations are now looking for more than that. They want to pick someone who will be a perfect fit for their team. They want to know what you bring to the table and how you can contribute to the team. How do you plan to develop further skills while working? What kinds of personal and professional development are you taking on, outside of your regular working hours – on your own time?
Here is a list of 8 interpersonal skills (in no particular order) that will help you succeed as a worker in the 21st Century.
1. Leadership – organizations are looking to their employees for feedback and ideas, and encourage them to be part of the decision-making process. Having leadership as a quality will inspire teamwork and it will influence other workers to follow.
2. Critical Thinking – as employees are developing this sense of freedom in the workplace to be creative and part of the decision making process, they also need to be able to solve issues that arise. Employees are being encouraged to think on their feet.
3. Flexibility – just because something worked in the past does not mean it will work in the future. We need to be open-minded about new ideas. The thinking “It’s my way or the highway…” doesn’t work anymore. We need to be flexible because most employees in the 21st Century take on multiple roles and the list of job responsibilities is endless!
4. Innovative – we are always trying to be the ones with the new idea that will change the way we operate… or until the next great idea comes along! Innovation cannot be left up to a few key individuals – all employees need to be wearing their thinking caps throughout the day. And remember that thinking outside of the box is something to be encouraged!
5. Emotional intelligence – no one person thinks, acts, or reacts the exact same way. When we better understand someone, we can then better understand what their strengths and their weaknesses are; what motivates them; and what ticks them off. By being able to appreciate our differences and knowing how to work with them, you can create trust and build strong team relationships which will, in turn, increase productivity.
6. Technology Savvy – with technology advancing at the speed of light, we need to make sure that we are staying up-to-date with what is available and how it can benefit the work that we do. This includes Social Media. It has been said that Twitter breaks news faster than any other news resource – even CNN! It’s important to not only know what resources are out there for you to tap into, but it’s also important to know what is trending within your industry.
7. Self-Directed – organizations want to hire employees who have ambition; they want goal-oriented people on their team. You need to be continuously learning and welcome professional development. What do you want to accomplish professionally?
8. Life balance – with the ease of staying connected, work can easily overpower your life these days. You need to remember how important leisure time is too. Be sure to make time for your friends and family, but be sure to take some “me time” too! It’s important to love what you do, and it’s also important to give your mind some R&R so you can be at the top of your game for work.