Secrets of the Job Hunt


Friday, July 06, 2007

Skills Employers Want

Last week, author Dan Pink entertained the audience at the SHRM Annual Conference.

He spoke of certain skills that employers should be on the lookout for and I wanted to pass those along. As a job seeker its up to you to improve on these skills.

Design. “You don’t have to be a designer, but you do have to be literate in it.” When it comes to the aesthetic differentiators of products and services, “we’re all in the arts and entertainment business,” Pink said. “Hire the design inmates and let them run the asylum.”

Story. “Ubiquitous facts are free in today’s society, but building a master narrative to give them context is a talent. Find the storytellers and let them do that.”

Symphony. This means seeing the big picture, connecting the dots and finding meaningful patterns between them. “This is the new killer app.” Citing research that shows women and the middle-aged are best at this, Pink quipped, “So my best advice to you is hire more middle-aged women.”

Empathy. “This is hard to outsource or automate, and it’s hard for competitors to replicate.” Pink said one of the best ways to tell if a person is empathetic is to find out if he or she can distinguish between a real and a fake smile. In fact, Pink suggested that this become a skill those in the audience should develop.

Meaning. “In the U.S. we’ve gotten three times richer and not one bit happier,” said Pink, noting the phenomenon is true in other cultures as well. Look for people who want meaning, not just accumulation.

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