There is no doubt nearly everyone with a job is fearful the endless series of job cuts might eventually take away a formerly safe job. At the same time those who have already been victims of the economy are striving to compete for the few jobs that become available. To make matters worse, according to the August 14, 2011 issue of “The Atlanta Journal–Constitution,” the most recent reductions in professional services such as law, accounting and finance is on a magnitude not seen in the previous recession.”
Given this dire news, one has to wonder if, given equal skills, what are the differentiators that could keep you employed, or win you a job against your competitors. The answer is effective oral and written communications, as well as a sense of self that broadcasts confidence and poise.
For instance you must ask yourself:
· Am I getting the desired results when I interview, chair or contribute to a meeting, make a presentation, and converse with my peers and supervisors?
· Do I get too many additional questions later, indicating I don’t get enough information across the first time?
· How often do I have to repeat my points in my emails or hold still another meeting?
· Does my body language demonstrate strength when speaking with a colleague or supervisor? (For instance, do you slouch or put your hands in your pocket, when you should be standing straight and using strong hand motions that indicate confidence and authority)?
· Does my wardrobe indicate professionalism? These days the casual Fridays have become too casual and have spread to the rest of the week. That doesn’t score points. However, those men who wear a well-fitting suit or sports jacket and tie are respected at first glance, while women should wear either a conservative dress or skirt and blouse that indicate style and taste. In other words, leave your flip-flops, jeans, work shirts and leggings at home, and do everything possible to cover tattoos. While it is almost a given for the younger generation, an employer or potential employer from the boomer generation typically looks upon tattoos with disdain.
If your answers to these questions indicate you’re not as skilled in communications as you are in your own field, you have to find a way to improve. When you received training, the subject itself was of utmost importance. However, when you reach the workplace, given two candidates of equal competence in the field, the job will be awarded to the person with better communications skills.