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Emotional intelligence (EQ) counts for a lot — often more than IQ.
Most of us spend our school years clawing and scratching, trying to make our way to the top of the pile to assure ourselves a secure and prosperous future. We get used to explaining why we are the best candidate (and the others are not).
But this learned habit may be the very one that’s hampering your job search now. You’ve spent so many years focusing on your IQ that you’ve neglected your EQ.
But what the heck is EQ?
The term EQ was coined in 1990 in a paper published by John Mayer and Peter Salovey, and popularized by Dr. Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., in his 2005 New York Times best-seller Emotional Intelligence.
At it’s very essence, having a respectable EQ means not being the jerk in the group.
Here’s an example:
Co-worker A: I just got a raise!
Co-worker B: Congratulations!
Co-worker C: What?! *#^@!! (Pounds fist on desk.) Why you?! I work harder, I deserve it more!
You get the picture. Your employer wants a healthy employee, and you want to BE a healthy employee: the voice of reason. But how? Take a look at these five tips for increasing your EQ to get the edge, even in your job search.
- Practice self-control
No one wants a hothead on their team — not even in the NBA. You likely won’t run into many interview situations that induce rage, but self-control extends to other areas as well.
Being out of work is stressful, especially when you are transitioning careers. Don’t let it get to you. If you start to feel depressed, anxious, etc., try to find some facts and figures to reassure yourself that you’re doing all you can to land the right job for you, and remind yourself that it takes time.
- Stay Motivated
Easier said than done, we know. But all jobs have challenges — some more than others — and you’re going to have to be able to face these without crumpling helplessly.
Practice during your job search. In order to keep a positive attitude, set small daily goals for yourself so you can continue to see progress, even before you get a job offer. When motivation wanes, often positivity follows. If you find that your motivation is missing-in-action, breaking down job search activities into smaller productive actions (à la the Pomodoro Technique) can be a useful way to gain steam again.
- Be Self-Aware
This one’s a bit trickier. When you’re in a job interview and you get a bad feeling, where does it come from? Did the interviewer frown, almost imperceptibly, at your last answer?
Assess each situation and understand how and why you reacted as you did. Once you’re able to spot your weaknesses and change them, you’ll have more power, which will bring you more confidence.
- Have Empathy
You would think that if there’s any place where it’s all about you, it’s a job interview. But, that’s just not the case.
Yes, interviewers want to find out about you, but they also want to know how you’re going to behave in certain situations.
Being understanding is a huge plus in the workplace, and having sensitivity is not only helpful, in many cases today it’s the law. Especially in sales or service, the ability to pick up on cues, anticipate and fill others’ needs and share a common bond make the difference between success and failure.
- Use Social Skills
This is a fairly broad and nebulous category. You can read about it endlessly, but it all boils down to what you learned in kindergarten: Be nice to others. Let them talk too. Listen. Don’t brag. Take turns. Share.
How do you measure up? Try this fun, free quiz and find out what areas you need to work on to improve your EQ.