How to stand out at work or at a job interview

Having grounded technical knowledge, being «good at your own job» is no longer enough: it has not ever been enough, actually, but today given that the labor market tightens, having a quid more than the others – whatever it may be – can be our trump card. A river of applications arrive for a single job position, as well as potential clients have available a large number of suppliers and experts to choose from the best one. Here, that’s the point, how do we choose the best one?

Soft skills make the difference

First of all, we have to clarify that “the best” is a partial conception, instead we should talk about the right person for a certain project or job role: people are more than just their CV and the contribution they can provide with their work is not so easy to foresee; an employee with very thorough knowledge seems perfect for a company, unless when important projects are not completed on time or important clients “run away” due to lack of professionalism.

Transversal expertise, so much-vaunted that they often seem empty tags, prove to be anything but secondary: teamworking, proactivity and flexibility are only some of the traits of the perfect employee. Certainly, nobody has them all, and the more suitable opportunities arise exactly from this observation: companies are not all the same, as the employees they are looking for.

Which are the most important soft skills?

In January 2016, the World Economic Forum published an interesting research about the future of work: it affirms transversal expertise will be increasingly important in the selection processes and it draws up a principal list.

  1. Problem Solving, or solving brilliantly everyday obstacles, for example moments of crisis: at all levels, be able to handle unforeseen is essential.
  2. Creativity: having energetic ideas and an original approach to an activity which “has always been done in this way”.
  3. Negotiation: being able to understand situations and people’s behaviors is the first step, knowing how to use it to your own advantage is a guarantee of great results.
  4. Lateral Thinking: it is about observing problems from different points of view, analyzing pros and cons and looking for new paths to follow.
  5. Decision – making capacity: it means being able to make decisions, but also take responsibility.
  6. Be a good leader: encourage your employees, grow the business and create a collaborative climate. Of course, it is not easy: if you want some advice, read also Leaders are not born, but they are made…reading.
  7. Emotional Intelligence: it is about being able to manage in a positive way with your feelings and other’s feelings – whether they are colleagues, clients or competitors.
  8. Critical Thinking: this is a very discussed soft skill. Being able to criticize constructively is important for the company’s growth, but not any manager is willing to accept it.
  9. Stress Management: working under pressure does not mean to overdo, it rather means to got the pulse on the situation and on your own limitations and organize yourself consequently.
  10. Proactivity: it concerns looking a bit further and planning long term activities without waiting to be subjected to events.

This list will be only and ever partial: many soft skills can be exercised and acquired, but we will only reach excellence where we are naturally capable, whether it is a strong problem solving attitude or a highly developed emotional intelligence.
So, in order to be the right man or woman in the right place, it is important to be the kind of person who integrates harmoniously in the work environment, producing an added value.

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