Four Reasons You May be Overlooked at Work
Are you being overlooked at work? According to Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., and Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., every employer is looking for a specific set of skills from job-seekers that match the skills necessary to perform a particular job.
In addition to the job-specific technical skills, there are certain skills which are nearly universally sought by employers.
The good news is that most job-seekers possess these skills to some extent.
The better news is that job-seekers with weaknesses in these areas can improve their skills. You can do this through training, professional development, or obtaining coaching/mentoring.
So, what are some of these critical employability skills that employers demand of job-seekers?
- Communications Skills (include listening, and are verbal and written)
- Analytical/Research Skills These skills deal with your ability to assess a situation, seek multiple perspectives, gather more information if necessary, and identify key issues that need to be addressed.
- Interpersonal Abilities. The ability to relate to your co-workers, inspire others to participate, and mitigate conflict with co-workers is essential given the amount of time spent at work each day.
- Leadership/Management Skills. While there is some debate about whether leadership is something people are born with, these skills deal with your ability to take charge and manage your co-workers.
- Teamwork. Because so many jobs involve working in one or more work-groups, you must have the ability to work with others in a professional manner while attempting to achieve a common goal.
By far, the one skill mentioned most often by employers is the ability to listen, write, and speak effectively. Successful communication is critical in business.
Communication is the key: Be extraordinary
It is important to know the difference between when to use formal versus informal types of communication if you want to get ahead in your professional life.
Formal communication encompasses a great deal of what you do every day for your job. When you allow more informal habits to sneak in (for example using slang or swearing), you are sending a clear message that you do not understand the importance or purpose for your professional messages, emails, and other communications.
Here are the top mistakes people make that can cause other people to devalue their messages.
1. Sending texts or instant messages for things that are better handled face-to-face.
That quick problem you had with a co-worker in your earlier meeting? You will find that it will be much easier to resolve with a quick conversation instead of 20 emails back and forth.
2. Using shorthand language in communications to clients or superiors.
While “K” and “idk” are perfectly fine in texts to your friends, they do not belong in professional communications.
3. Are you guilty of hitting “reply all” when you don’t need to?
Knowing who needs to see the response is crucial, and only in rare cases is it everyone. You are also setting up people to be spammed if the response gets shared.
4. Do you forget to proofread your messages or reports? Nothing says you don’t care like sloppy messages.
Ask around and pay attention to how others communicate where you work. Getting feedback and advice from other colleagues can help you improve your working skills.
If you need help with improving your communication skills, check out your local Toastmasters group. Find one close to you by going to Toastmasters.org and click on “find a club”. You can also find out more information about how Toastmasters can help you become a better communicator.
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