We must remember that many years ago, interviews based on competencies gained more relevance in the selection process. Therefore, the so-called soft skills were already important even before the crisis we are facing today. As professionals, we must be aware of the skills that are more valued by organizations and focus on their development and improvement.
It is important to emphasize that to identify our skills, it is extremely necessary to work on “self-knowledge,” because then we will better recognize our strengths (positive personal and professional characteristics) and weaknesses (aspects that we would like to improve or continue developing).
However, the new reality that some companies had to reinvent their business, it is up to us, as professionals, to reinvent ourselves. This does not depend on a managerial issue or the area of work where we operate. Therefore, we will focus on five main competencies, although many others can be mentioned, but from my experience these are what we should focus on:
Adapt and be flexible: We often think both terms are the same; however, when we talk about “adaptation,” we refer to the ability to modify our personal behavior, adapting quickly to different contexts, situations, or individuals. On the other hand, being “flexible” is associated with being cognitive, and implies understanding and valuing different points of view, adapting our own approach as the situation demands. Today’s companies are looking for professionals with both abilities because these professionals can integrate themselves more quickly into the company’s culture; they can easily adapt to a new way of working, since our own space to work is constantly evolving and besides, they are more receptive, obtaining a good performance in any critical situation.
Tune in with others: This ability refers to the “empathy,” which is the ability to put oneself in others’ shoes and comprehend the feelings and emotions the other person may be experiencing in front of a particular situation. Why is this important? Because companies need employees who can understand the situation a colleague would be going through, either because of a family problem (illness or loss) or simply because they do not have adequate conditions to work at home. By empathizing and being in tune with others, we can help companies demonstrate a true commitment to our team, help and collaborate with our colleagues, and/or provide a quick solution for both physical and psychological support.
Be digitally resilient: Let’s understand “resilience” as the ability people must overcome and deal with critical situations or events, turning the situation into something positive. Why is it important to be digitally resilient? Because with people working remotely, companies are looking for professionals who can focus on their own actions and achieve their goals, even if they face challenging moments or setbacks that prevent them from achieving their objective. Remember that professionals with developed resilience tend to have self-confidence and a greater understanding of their own abilities. They are more tolerant when facing frustration. They are often more effective when exposed to critical situations.
Learn continuously: Learning involves the assimilation of new information; its effective application allows us to see things differently and interpret our reality. Facing this modern society in transformation, professionals, for example, those who deal with digital tools, will carry out their work in a more productive way, remotely. They will also have a shorter learning gap when assuming a new position. They are usually people who are focused on the continuous improvement and constant updating of the job. So, because of that and some other particularities, they have become more attractive to companies.
Propose improvements: Being “proactive” allows us to propose improvements without the need to have a specific problem and anticipate situations before they occur, having a contingency plan for such occurrences. Nowadays, the new work situation demands that we not only remain in our comfort zone and carry out the same activities that we already know (our roles), but also, for example, that we dare to improve what we already know and do; being open to other activities, or supporting other areas of work (although not necessarily among our functions) and propose new forms of remote teamwork, without our supervisor having to request it.
Finally, reflecting on it, many of us have already put into practice developing these skills, perhaps even more focused on the personal level. But it’s also time to focus on the professional level to generate value, either to the company we are working for or to find the job we have been looking for. The constant development of these skills allows us to have more employability conditions during this time of crisis.
“Now that we are aware of it, it’s our turn to develop and improve it to the maximum.”