I recently attended a career development workshop held by the Global Association of Risk Professionals where a panel of senior financial risk executives spoke about the keys to long term career success in their field. The panelists all agreed that there are 3 key qualities they look for when choosing who to hire:
- Technical Skills
- Interpersonal Skills
- Strength of Character
When you developping your career plan, rewriting your resume and presenting yourself in interviews and every day work these are the qualities you want to be sure others are seeing in you. These 3 qualities need to be part of your personal brand and expressed in your resume, cover letter, interviews and, most importantly, on the job.
Most people, most of the time focus on the technical skills. Resumes are often filled with information discussing how technical adept the applicant is. However, as we've discussed, that is not where the value proposition for you is. There are two more sets of personal qualities you want to ensure you are communicating as well. What are these 3 Qualities anyhow?
Technical skills are the knowledge and skill you have to actually perform your work. These skills may include computer programming, statistical methods, subject matter expertise and so on. Technical skills are often learned, though you may have some innate abilities as well. Technical skills are often the same or similar for most job openings. With a highly educated workforce, having strong technical skills is often necessary but not sufficient to get that next position.
Your interpersonal skills are a how you relate to other people within your team, with other teams as well as how you interact with people outside of the organization (personally and professionally). How do you treat people? How well do you listen? What is your level of emotional intelligence? How do you respond to others in stressful situations. And in our ever interconnected world, this is reflected not only in your professional life but also in your personal life. Employers are looking at what you write on in social media, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Is the way you conduct yourself consistent at work and off work? Clients are using these resources too before awarding contracts.
Strength of Character
The ability to stand up for what you believe in regardless of the audience and the consequences. Are you able to stand up and express your opinion regardless of what others may think? Regardless of whether it will cost you a promotion or even your job? Are you willing to do what's right even if it's difficult or inconvenient? Many employers want to foster discussion and debate about the issues they are facing. Employers want leaders who can set an example to the rest of the employess so that they too can act with a strength of character. Employers want staff who will stand up and keep the company out of legal and financial trouble.
Are you living your life consistent with these qualities? How are you ensuring that employers understand the benefits you bring in these three areas? What areas can you use help communicating these qualities to potential employers?