We each are a crazy quilt of characteristics, talents, ideas and ideals, sewn together by our experiences, our families and our own hands.
Yet some fabric patches are more sought after by employers. Which pieces are like royal blue velvet to a hiring manager, beautiful to look at and almost impossible to resist? Which deserve to show up again and again?
Integrity can be the rich velvet of your quilt personality for it will help carry you into a management job, according to a Robert Half Management Resources survey of chief financial officers. One third of the 1,400 CFOs queried cited “the moral compass” as the trait they seek most in grooming future leaders. The question put aside technical or functional expertise since it’s expected that you will have mastered the content of your job already. Excellent communication skills are also prized, picked by 28 percent of the finance types and in other surveys too.
Leadership was the top trait listed in Indeed job postings in the first half of this year – good news for any college student who’s headed her debate team or soccer club.
Four other traits in Indeed’s top 10 indicate an ability to manage time and energy — motivated, efficient, prioritize and multi-task. Time management itself showed up as No. 11.
The American Management Association weighed in with the 4Cs — — communications, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration — as increasingly in demand by employers.
Sew these all into some of my own thoughts on the crazy quilt of talents and values and I’ve come up with five traits most hiring managers seek:
1. Communication skills.
This must include listening actively, asking great questions, summarizing and turning thoughts and ideas into crisp, clear and direct emails and notes.
Know what you stand for; know your values and show your honor and honesty. Live up to your promises and admit mistakes.
3. Adaptability and creativity.
These fraternal twins help through rough times and enhance good ones. Stay fresh and engaged; welcome change and see new ideas everywhere.
4. Thoughtfulness and kindness.
These demonstrate your commitment to your colleagues and your emotional intelligence. They may not show up on everyone’s best traits list, yet they build teamwork, collaboration, loyalty and motivation with your coworkers.
5. Critical thinking.
Use this wisdom to curate ideas, demands and more. Today’s workers must deal with a barrage of requests, problems, emails, deadlines and more. So be thoughtful, strategic and fast moving; use great judgment and make snap decisions and carefully reflected on choices.
To be sure, your crazy quilt may have many more attributes than these, and some of these may feel old fashioned and even a bit quaint. Yet they will keep you warm and working long after today’s bright buzzwords are heaped in a pile and forgotten.