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3 Steps to Showcase Your Soft Skills and Land the Job

Our CEO and founder is frequently requested to draft articles for professionals experiencing a career transition. Enjoy this article as published in PrimeWomen.

In a report from the Age Smart Employer Award program, a project of Columbia University’s Columbia Aging Center at the Mailman School of Public Health, companies are now realizing that by hiring, retaining and using older workers strategically, they can solve a variety of pressing problems business owners face. The traits most valued for employers are soft skills like the ability to be innovativeflexible, and creative.

What are employers really looking for?

For this article, we will focus on showcasing your ‘innovative abilities,’ as this is one of the soft skills currently most in-demand by employers. This trait typically unveils itself only after comes with years of experience and wisdom. By focusing on this skill, you stand out from the competition who has not yet acquired this desirable ability.

Specifically, innovative skills are those that help you generate and implement new ideas or ways of doing things. You might think of it as the ability to find ways of improving processes, products or customer experience to impact efficiencies or effectiveness – and ultimately the bottom line.

How do I demonstrate that I am innovative?

Step 1:

Prepare the best example you can think of using the STAR Method outlined below that demonstrates that you are innovative. Employers are seeking candidates that can adapt to changing conditions and help improve the quality of the workflow. By focusing on this trait, you bring the point of attention to you as the best employee for the job!

The goal here is to provide evidence of your accomplishments that are unique to you and only you! To aid you in finding this evidence in your work history, we are including a formula below that draws upon your experiences:

Utilize the STAR method to formulate a strong answer. STAR is an acronym:

  • ST– specific situation, task or problem
  • A– actions completed to resolve the issue
  • R– results that describe how the situation went from negative to positive and the impact (quantify with # or % when possible)

Remember, innovative behavior describes all activities that belong to generating, evaluating, realizing and implementing of new ideas.

Here are some thought starters to tap into when creating STARs that showcase your accomplishments resulting from your ability to be innovative:

  • Provide an example of when you were persistent and it paid off.
  • When were you open to a change and what occurred because you were flexible?
  • Do you have a visionary view on challenges and solutions? If so, provide an example of this using the STAR method.
  • When did you perform an independent search for information, resources and support to get the job done?
  • Are you known for being proactive in the pursuit of ideas?
  • Are you efficient and effective? Can you quantify what impact this has had on your role, department and/or the company?
  • Did you ever play a role and/or were you solely responsible for creating and using new paths to reach the company’s goals?
  • Tell the reader about a time when you had to locate and use new resource to complete a project. This can be a tool, instrument, staff, software, etc…

Step 2:

Take the STARs you just created by answering the questions above and boil them down into bullet points. Include these in your resume and LinkedIn profile, and include them in your elevator speech when networking.   

Step 3:

Use these STARs when interviewing to provide evidence and facts that demonstrate you are the best candidate for the role. Evidence is hard to dispute and is unique to you and only you. Employers know that personal traits cannot be trained, so by emphasizing this strength, you are persuading hiring authorities that age is nothing but a number and you have the trait they desire!

All innovative activity of a company can be traced back to only one thing – the behavior of employees. Therefore, by clearly providing evidence of your previous innovative behaviors and successes via the STARs above, you are aligning your background with their exact needs. When this match is made, the decision is easy – you are the person for the job!

 

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3 TIPS FOR DOWNSHIFTING INTO PRE-RETIREMENT

In that same vein, there is a time when many professionals decide to consciously and purposefully step away from their current full-time career to enter a phased retirement stage. The reasons seasoned professionals decide to strategically seek alternative work options are as varied as the options of opportunities available.So, whatever the reason is for you, if you are seeking to consciously downshift your career and pursue a lighter workload while remaining relevant in the workforce, we have a few tips that are sure to empower you during this phased retirement stage:

Tip 1: Change Your Existing Role from Full-time to Part-time

Employers want to keep good workers and it is expensive to train new ones. There is a good chance you can build a solid case with your current supervisor to transition into a part-time role. First, figure out the advantage this provides to the employer, and then, how the workload can be managed in fewer hours or redistributed. Creating a solid plan and selling the advantages can open the dialogue to successfully start your phased retirement while still providing value to the company.

Tip 2: Follow your Bliss

Talents come in all forms and are gifts that express your true nature. When used to help others, they enhance the surrounding community and give meaning to life. Your unique talent coupled with hard-earned wisdom and experience is valuable. For instance, if you have an interest in living a healthy lifestyle, this could translate into nutrition consulting services. Enjoying money management and helping others find financial freedom? Then you could just be the talent that a CPA or wealth management would love to have on call for busy times. The point here is to discover a talent that can be used to elevate others. Turn it into a career you love and this, in turn, will bring meaning to your life. Follow your bliss!

Tip 3: Join the Gig Economy

First, identify your strengths and match these strengths to the skills needed for jobs in the new world of work known as the “gig economy,” the “sharing” or “on demand” economy. This is a new line of work that involves online intermediaries connecting independent workers with customers. There are hundreds of online platforms focused on everything from ride-sharing to legal services, consulting, healthcare and freelance marketing. So, there really is a good chance you can find gig work that fits your unique interests and expertise. A few of our favorite online services that match up “sharing” or “on demand” services include UpworkTake lessons or Thumbtack.

Be brave! There is always a way to change your life situation to accommodate a new way of living. Explore all your options for phased retirement, find out what works for you as you consciously uncouple from your current full-time role and go for it!

True Inspirational Leaders Pay It Forward

Our CEO, Danielle Dayries, is a featured columnist for #primewomensmagazine where she provides exposés on empowering women in their career transition and development. The most recent article published by @primewomen gives advice on leadership.

People can lead in many ways. Position and title describe the level of responsibility with authority, but job descriptions are less important compared to the character of true inspirational leaders who pay it forward. Everyone can have an attitude of giving back. The main quality that demonstrates being true inspirational leaders by paying it forward is to help others succeed. Several ways a leader can assist in helping others is by inspiring them, paying attention to the details of their lives, sharing their network, and being open to learning from others.

Inspirational Leaders Focus on Relationships

Inspiring others starts with building trust by focusing on the relationship. As has been stated, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Listen proactively and seek to understand to develop respect and trust. Also, paying attention to the details of people’s lives conveys sincerity. These communication skills build a strong foundation that leads to enhanced positive feelings. When recognition and appreciation are conveyed by people they respect and trust, it inspires them.

Share Your Network

Adopting an attitude of shared responsibility and common obligation to the community is selfless service to others. Pay it forward by introducing people to your network and attending functions with them. The more sharing of your network to others, the more it grows and opens up opportunities that could be beneficial to everyone. Another way is to assist job seekers by putting them in contact with hiring managers at companies where there are openings. The job seeker may be in a position to help you one day and remember how you helped them.

Be Open to Other Ideas

Lead with humility by being open to learning from others. This attitude and openness expands your knowledge by allowing others to be the teacher. When you accept diversity in others and foster collaborative learning, everyone’s wellbeing is elevated. People who feel good about the people around them and the work they do, will pay it forward for others and be true inspirational leaders. As John Quincy Adams stated, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

DMD & Associates, Inc.

(866) 296-8593 tel
danielle@dmdcareerconsulting.com

Lafayette, Louisiana

200 W. Brentwood Boulevard
Lafayette, Louisiana 70506
(337) 254-0734 tel

New Orleans, Louisiana

923 Constance Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
(504) 875-7890 tel

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