When it comes to job hunting most of us are in the same boat, regardless of the position we’re seeking or the field we’re in. We’re eager to convince the gatekeepers—those who have the power to make the hiring decisions—that we possess the full suite of skills and abilities they need for their teams. We also want to make sure our skills for work are current and razor sharp, to keep grabbing the attention and interest of current and future hiring personnel and opening doors to new opportunities.
But times change amidst these noble pursuits, and we all know the breakneck pace at which today’s work world spins—what’s cutting edge today is obsolete tomorrow, and that includes everything from technology to skills. So, in a word full of uncertainty and rapid-fire change, how can we best position ourselves for success—both in the short-term and for the long haul?
The truth is, there are no ironclad guarantees in life, and this is especially true in the professional world. Most of us have encountered unexpected twists and turns along our career journeys and fully expect to come across unforeseen events in the future. That said, there are some tried and tested skills that you can hone to help make sure that you’re in a good position to maintain stable and steady employment across the span of your career. Psychology Today recently published an article highlighting social intelligence, complex critical thinking, and creative problem solving as skills that will always serve you well in your professional life, regardless of where you are in your career path. According to the article, “These skills are essential not only for career selection and job performance but for success and happiness more broadly … these skills are considered the cornerstone of goal-directed behavior, the kind of behavior that determines the kinds of goals we set in life and the types of results we achieve.”
Let’s look at each skill more closely.
Social intelligence refers to your ability to successfully navigate all types of situations with others (including those tricky ones that typically induce stress and anxiety) and build genuine, lasting, and beneficial work relationships with everyone from subordinates to higher-ups. When gauging your social intelligence, ask yourself the following questions: Do you typically rise to the occasion when the heat is on and find ways to snatch victory whenever possible? Do you rush bravely forward in the face of new challenges instead of shrinking back into the shady corners? Are you a natural schmoozer at work? Are you generally well liked by your colleagues? Have you built a strong network of contacts over your career arc?
Complex critical thinking
Complex critical thinking is the ability to capably handle all manner of complicated, higher-order tasks that require sophisticated problem solving, synthesizing new and challenging concepts, and generating sound and logical ideas. It’s easy to see how having these skills for work can help you shine and become the go-to person for making sure that challenging and multi-layered projects get completed without a hitch. The real question: Are your skills in this area sharp? Are you making sure to use these skills to your advantage when handling your work responsibilities?
Creative problem solving
Creative problem solvers consistently think outside of the box and come up with fresh and inspired approaches for completing tasks and solving problems at work, often when narrower and more traditional thinking fail to generate positive results. Being able to concoct innovative ways to disrupt the status quo is a skill worth its weight in gold, and can really help you stand out from colleagues who are lackluster in this area.
Take a close look at your how you typically attack new problems and challenges at work. Are you often somewhat off-center yet successful when it comes to figuring things out? Do colleagues appreciate your unique perspective on issues? If so, then you likely possess this skill in abundance, and can use it to help you climb your career ladder.
Now that you’re aware of the core skills for work that can help you guarantee employment for life, here’s some extra good news: You likely possess these innate abilities in varying degrees. Moving forward, it’s up to you to acknowledge their importance and value, continue to hone and sharpen them and make sure you’re using them to your full advantage at work.