Show ’em your Career Smarts……emotional intelligence that is
Unless you are alone and counting beans in a cave, the ability to understand yourself and others, communicate and influence others are all critical skills and abilities of career success. With increased emphasis on collaboration and diversity, EI is becoming even more important and companies are hiring with those attributes in mind.
What is EI?
EI is generally defined as a person’s ability to understand and manage his/her own thoughts and emotions as well having insight into others and responding in such a way to influence outcomes. Generally speaking, the higher levels of EI you have, the more easily you can sell your ideas to others, resolve conflict, inspire and lead teams in complex and ever changing work environments.
How can I present my EI in my resume?
Start with the job posting or job description. If it requires interpersonal communication skills, ability to work with a team or manage other people, you have a competitive edge if you can showcase those abilities on the resume. Simply saying “I have high emotional intelligence” is not enough and may, in fact, create question since two dimensions of EI are “reality testing and self regard”. Rather than list communications as a strength, list examples of how you:
- overcame objections to influence a decision
- communicated a controversial message with positive consequences
- increased sales team effectiveness
- improved patient satisfaction scores
- resolved conflict between two opposing business units
Do you control your own emotions well under stress? Highlighting that much needed ability can be accomplished by describing how you have responded well to emotionally stressful situations:
- have you been able to manage conflicting priorities and assignments?
- have you met demanding deadlines?
- were you able to exceed a difficult sales quota?
Have others told you that you are insightful and read others’ emotions well? Describe specific circumstances in your career when you used that ability. For example:
- if assigned to improve a process, you may have designed questions and facilitated focus groups to solicit ideas from people most impacted
- if involved in a merger of two business groups, you may have conducted a needs assessment to gain concensus before pursuing any change
When showcasing your EI, be mindful of the position and work environment. Customer service, sales, human resources, medical delivery, or research all have industry specific responsibilities. Conflict resolution might look different in different work settings; however, if you have ever managed a team of employees or were responsible for firing someone, you can certainly speak to your emotional intelligence competence.
Remember: specificity speaks louder than generality. Your resume can briefly explain the situation and provide the hiring manager with good discussion starters for the interview. Be sure to be prepared with details to expand upon your top three EI traits. You will make a very favorable impression during the interview.
Speaking of interviews……
Most companies ask behavioral interview questions to determine how candidates might fit into the organization. Many organizations also use EI interview questions to hire and promote. The questions answer:
- stress – what are your hot buttons
- how you relate in conflict situations
- what motivates you to do your best
- how you define your own work success
Not just for Execs
Lest you think this is only used for manager positions, this type of screening and interviewing is common in healthcare, customer service and sales, financial services and most other professions. Here’s an example. A leading collection agency uses EI interview questions to determine candidates’ levels of optimism and self esteem. It turns out that the perfect candidate for this company possess fairly low optimism and very high self esteem.
How can you measure your high EI?
Options include online EI assessments or working with someone certified to report out detailed findings and work with you toward a customized development plan.
Want to learn more about emotional intelligence and your job search or career success? I help professionals and executives get hired by designing strategic job searches. Contact me at Patricia@CareerWisdomCoach.com or tweet me @CareerSmartz.