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Movin’ On Up…In Your Career: How Do You Know You’re Ready?

Whether you have 1-2 years’ of experience in your industry or are a seasoned professional, at what point do you know you’re ready to take your career to the next level with a new company? If making that decision isn’t difficult enough, finding the right qualities and skills to emphasize to prospective employers during interviews can be a tricky task. Although technical skills are important to proving your worth, for roles that present increased responsibilities, employers will be just as focused on the intangible qualities and skills that you possess outside of experience.

To help you identify the skills that can help prove you are ready for the next step, ask yourself these 4 questions:

1.       How have you demonstrated the ability to take on more responsibility?

In today’s highly competitive job market, doing your job well should come as an obvious truth if you’re looking to move up in your career; however, nowadays doing your job well isn’t enough to differentiate your successes from other job seekers. Instead, prospective hiring managers are more focused on instances where you go above and beyond to deliver and add value. For example, say you are tasked with creating a presentation highlighting the organization’s key initiatives for the year. While you do create a solid presentation, you also propose suggestions of ways to enhance the company’s content strategy in order to better align with those initiatives. In the end, examples of over-delivering on projects not only show that you strive to ‘see the big picture,’ but also your ability to take on more work and responsibility without being asked.

2.       Do you possess leadership qualities?

If you want to pursue an opportunity that offers career growth, it’s important to show prospective employers that you can be a team player who can collaborate well with others to achieve business goals. Why? As you gain more responsibility, this often opens you up to working with a broader range of colleagues, and as a result, you must be prepared to manage the working relationships you have with different co-workers. Therefore, it’s important as a job seeker to shed light on the soft skills you’ve mastered throughout your career that demonstrate you can be an effective leader as well as a team player.

Possessing strong interpersonal communication skills and a great degree of emotional intelligence are 2 traits that hiring managers look out for and can take you very far in your career. If articulated properly during an interview, these types of skills show that you can not only be empathetic, but you also can respect your colleagues’ opinions enough to communicate effectively.

3.       Are you a proactive learner?

One of the most essential qualities that hiring managers look out for in prospective candidates looking to step into a higher positon is their aptitude for learning and improving their technical skills. However, while proactively learning new skills as they relate to your current job is important to your professional development, it’s just as important to be able to take a step back and recognize when certain types of advanced degrees or certifications could enhance your industry knowledge and ability to add more value in the field.  For example, certain certifications in the Accounting/Finance industry distinguish accounting professionals as a dedicated and more marketable job seeker when they are in search of their next opportunity.

This rule also applies to industries across the board, and the better you can detail examples of times you took initiative to learn on your own, the more likely a hiring manager will see the value your skill set could add to the organization.

4.       Are you adaptable?

Finally, adaptability is a vital component job seekers should know is important to success at the next in your career. Whether that entails staying late or helping colleagues outside of your usual responsibilities, job seekers should be prepared to illustrate how your adaptable qualities turn mistakes or unpredictable events into opportunities for improvement. Highlighting how well you’ve used constructive criticism in the past to improve areas of your profession is another way to show your willingness to adjust the way you do your job in order to grow as a professional within the organization.

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