Advance Your Career Resiliency by Zoning in on Your Soft Skills
Whether you’re in the middle of a career search or content in your current position, have you contemplated your soft skills and value add? In speaking with our hiring managers, we discovered that organizations are driven to hire Resiliency/ Crisis Management professionals who can champion the program forward, and…. we’re not just talking about your technical abilities, industry knowledge, hands on work experience, and training. It really boils down to who you are as a person – your soft skills – what makes you, you! Think of your soft skills as a combination of your interpersonal people skills, social skills, communication skills, character traits, attitudes, and career attributes. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Business Continuity programs are under increased executive scrutiny and organizations are motivated to hire the best of the best as people are the greatest asset to their program. If you are interviewing for a virtual role, guess what – your competition for that job just extended across the entire country, and perhaps even the globe. You may feel confident that you meet the requirements – years of experience, previous job titles, degree, and certification, but news flash…. So does your competition. We polled our hiring managers inquiring on what soft skills they believed led to the most effective hire. And while there is an abundance of characteristics worth highlighting, we discovered that there were trends in the data based on the level of the professional.
For entry-level hires we discovered that hiring managers believe individuals who exhibit passion for the role (intellectual curiosity and take initiative) as well as business management (organizational skills, detail oriented, and time management) resulted in the most successful hire. These attributes help entry-level Business Continuity practitioners in documentation, plan updates, and program maintenance. Passion for the role, however, is the secret sauce. Loving what you do can be contagious within your team and organization.
- 92% - Intellectual Curiosity
- 87% - Organizational Skills
- 84% - Detail Oriented
- 83% - Time Management
- 79% - Take Initiative
The data showed that hiring managers prefer mid-level Business Continuity professionals with a mix of soft skills. Being a change agent (embracing new ideas) and keen on situational awareness (analytical/ problem solving) topped the list. Passion for the role (confidence) and emotional intelligence (diplomacy, empathy, and interpersonal savvy) followed closely behind along with being a team player (develop/coach others). All of these traits come into play when assessing programs, managing program governance/compliance, and promoting BCM awareness. Driving the program forward with emotional intelligence is the key to defining a top talent at the mid-level, though.
- 92% - Embrace New Ideas
- 92% - Analytical/Problem Solving
- 88% - Confidence
- 88% - Diplomacy
- 88% - Develop/Coach Others
- 86% - Empathy
- 86% - Interpersonal Savvy
Senior Level Hires:
At the senior level, however, our hiring managers favor experts with situational awareness (deep understanding of the business and culture, big picture thinker, calm under pressure/ tolerant of stress, and conceptual thinker). Emotional intelligence (influence/persuasion) and being a change agent (decisive/action oriented) also rated high. These attitudes are not surprising when you consider that senior level Business Continuity advisors are focused on program design strategy (designing program outcomes/objectives, BCM strategic vision planning, and developing BCM culture) along with engaging executives and activating programs during a crisis.
- 96% - Deep Understanding of Business & Culture
- 96% - Big Picture Thinker
- 92% - Calm Under Pressure/Tolerant of Stress
- 88% - Influence/Persuasion
- 88% - Decisive/Action Oriented
- 88% - Conceptual Thinker
So now you may ask…. How do I go about showcasing or elevating my soft skills? Although many of these traits come naturally, there is always room for improvement with practice and time. For example, taking a communication class is well worth the time and money and it’s one of the most crucial competencies in any position. Time management, organization, and being detail oriented can be elevated in planning your workday the day before and blocking your schedule to address your daily tasks. When considering passion for the role, emotional intelligence, change agent, and situational awareness you may want to assess what attributes you admire from a manager or co-worker and become more conscious on how your actions are viewed within your team and across the organization.
When highlighting your talents, it’s important to consider the competencies in demand at your desired level and showcase situations in which those attributes were used or how you tackled a challenge. Emotional intelligence and situational awareness are the most challenging traits to exhibit. For these soft skills it’s important to read the room, actively listen (don’t do all the talking), and genuinely show your emotion and interest in the role. I also recommend searching for the top behavioral questions asked during an interview and practice your unique responses.
Think of your soft skills as the accessories to your knowledge and training within the profession. Who you are as a person will not qualify you for a role, but when coupled with work expertise (and highlighted well during the interview process) will definitely elevate your marketability! And as always, we are here to help you in meeting your career aspirations in any way that we can. Sign up for our BCM Career Alert notifications at https://www.bcmanagement.com/business-continuity-jobs to ensure you receive timely new career notifications matching your search preferences. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have. Arrange a complimentary discussion today at firstname.lastname@example.org.