12 ways to show emotional intelligence in your job search

happy jobseeker

Since I wrote this very popular post more than a year ago, I’ve added an additional sign of emotional intelligence (EQ). How you conduct your job search determines how short, or long, it will be.


Recently I was leading a Résumé Writing workshop in which one gentleman was staring at me the whole time. He never spoke, just shot daggers at me as I was conducting the workshop. Around him sat people who were engaged, taking notes, and answering my questions.

We’re told as presenters to look at the friendly participants because they’ll give you courage, but the one who looked like he could kill was the one I focused on. He was my challenge.

He was not angry with me, but his demeanor told me learning about writing résumés was not on his mind. He was probably thinking about how he was unjustly let go from his previous job for arguing with his boss for the fifth time in three months.

We’ve read a great deal about the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) and how it applies the workplace, particularly leadership. But what about how EQ applies to your job search? Without a strong degree of EQ, your job search is doomed. Below are 12ways job seekers demonstrate EQ.

1. They understand the job search is stressful. And that they’re not alone. The feelings of uneasiness and possible anxiety are natural. This, however, doesn’t give them authority to lash out at others, including family. They’re able to control their negative behavior.

My colleague Edythe Richards, Certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner, states, “People with active EQ are able to handle the stress of the job search without it getting them down, and have good impulse control (2 other elements of EQ).”

2. They let go of their anger. Anger is said to be one of the five phases a person will face when he’s lost his job. Although a natural feeling, it can be the most detrimental to your job search. People can see it in your eyes and posture, hear it from your voice; and you push them away.

Anger may also be shown through social media, such as LinkedIn. Someone with EQ doesn’t show his anger, rather he finds ways to channel it. Perhaps turning to exercise, meditation, or seeking therapy.

3. They’re willing to help others. When you need help in your job search is the time you should think of other people also looking for work. Not everyone who is in need think of helping others, but those with EQ realize that helping others will garner help in return.

They get a sense of accomplishment which propels them forward. They also win the respect and support of others. On the flip side are the ones who only look out for themselves and, as a result, turn people away.

4. They also ask for help. On the flip side, they aren’t too proud to ask for help here and there, all the while feeling they’ll reciprocate any assistance they receive.

People with EQ realize that requesting help is acceptable, even necessary in the job search. Too many of my customers haven’t even told people they were out of work. They were embarrassed, but they shouldn’t have been. Unemployment is a fact of life.

5. They take on challenges. Rather than turn and run the other way, a jobseeker with EQ will face difficult or uncomfortable situations. It might mean making the decision to change her career, or attend networking events requiring her to leave her comfort zone, or join LinkedIn and use it to its potential.

The majority of people who enter our career center take on the challenge of finding a new job, while others wait for a job to find them. Those who come to our center and approach me with hunger in their eyes possess EQ.

6. They know their strengths and weaknesses. Emotional intelligence means you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses and can discuss both in factual fashion. They don’t come up with bullshit weaknesses like, “I work too hard,” or “I’m a perfectionist.”

Employers want people who are self-aware, who can recognize their weaknesses and overcome them. I talk to people who can tell me with confidence about accomplishments they’ve achieved. Then factually describes mistakes they’ve made and how they will not repeat them.

7. They don’t blame others. Blaming others for your mistakes is a red flag to employers. If someone is let go because of poor performance, he should admit his mistakes and talk about how he’ll ensure they won’t happen again.

People who have high EQ realize that mistakes are inevitable. Those who openly blame their situation on their boss or colleagues come across as someone who can’t own up to their responsibilities. They will not learn from their mistakes, as employers see it.

8. They gravitate toward positive people. I remember when I was laid off from my marketing position and how I spent approximately three weeks commiserating with a colleague who was also laid off. We sat in a small, smoky bar and drank, blaming management for not keeping us during an acquisition.

I soon came to realize I wouldn’t improve my situation by commiserating with this person. It was getting depressing…and expensive. I stopped meeting with him and sought positive people to be with. Positive people make you act more positively.

9. They take criticism well. No one likes to be criticized for what they do, but people who have EQ see it as constructive criticism or advice. Of course certain criticism is not constructive and should be disregarded.

Most of the people I sit with to critique their LinkedIn profile take my advice and apply it to their profile or resume, whereas others argue about small details or walk away insulted. People with EQ will listen to well intended advice and act on it or not.

10. They learn from their mistakes. One common problem jobseekers suffer from is not being able to understanding their mistakes, and then correcting them. Take a woman who has been “let go” from multiple companies for continuously arguing with her boss.

She will have a hard time keeping her job if she doesn’t develop EQ. She may see this as difficult to do, but her future jobs will rely on it. Employers who dig for deeper information regarding why you left your previous job can smell this like a bloodhound.

11. They dress and act the part. First impressions are essential. It’s estimated that 33% of employers make their decision to not hire you within 90 seconds of meeting you. Your first impressions begin long before the interview.

In the job search, prior to the interview, smart jobseekers understand they are on stage from the time they leave their house to the time they return. Demonstrating this type of EQ is not only necessarily at the interview; it must be integrated into your daily life.

12. They take care of themselves. One thing I ask our customers is if they’re exercising. Are you walking or running? Going to the gym? Even parking in the spot farthest from the grocery store? Other ways you should take care of yourself is refraining from nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, cut down on food intake.

When I was out of work I increased my walking time from 45 minutes a day to 90 minutes or more. This helped clear my mind from the obsessive destructive thoughts of being out of work. I also lost a few pounds, which was helpful for my self-image.

For ways to improve your state of mind, read this post from my valued connection, Sabrina Woods.


The man who appeared so angry in my workshop left at the end without saying a word (normally people hang around to ask questions). I thought it would be the last time I’d see him. When I picked up his evaluation form, a saw what appeared to be a tome of comments. I also saw the highest ranking, 5 out of 5, for every question on the form. Furthermore, he attended many more workshops…always appearing angry.

Photo, Flickr, Christian L87

Advertisements

One thought on “12 ways to show emotional intelligence in your job search

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s