Emotional Intelligence & Why You Need It To Succeed In The Job Search

Dr. Travis Bradberry wrote an article for success.com [originally on LinkedIn here] in January 2016 about emotional intelligence and it’s been bookmarked since then. In the article, Dr. Bradberry states,

“Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results. Emotional intelligence is made up of four core skills that pair up under two primary competencies: personal competence and social competence.”

Up until this point, IQ was assumed to be the sole source of success, but once emotional intelligence was defined (and studied), the pieces fell into place. It is the “critical factor that sets start performers apart from the rest of the pack”. Emotional intelligence taps into human behavior, not intellect.

As I read the article, I immediately thought of my job seekers. I have worked with over 200 people in the roughly 1.5 years I’ve been with General Assembly. These people take our courses to change their careers and ultimately their lives; however, there are some who succeed in this endeavor and there are some that do not. I think a key piece in determining who will succeed and who will not is emotional intelligence.

The job search is tough. The market is competitive and it takes a lot of sweat and tears to find the right opportunity. Oprah is not here handing out jobs like she did with cars…if only. I think many of us were taught that you need education, skills, and a resume and you’ll find a job. Not true. Those are the table stakes. But the real work comes when you think about your differentiators, meaning what sets you apart from other candidates. One of those key differentiators has to be emotional intelligence. And plain and simple, some people will naturally have a higher EI than others.

Good news, according to the article, is that emotional intelligence can be acquired and improved with practice. The article gets into some nitty-gritty info about plasticity and the brain, but at a high level, there’s a chain reaction of growth that ensures it’s easier to kick a new behavior into action in the future.

As you train your brain by repeatedly practicing new emotionally intelligent behaviors, your brain builds the pathways needed to make them into habits. Before long, you begin responding to your surroundings with emotional intelligence without even having to think about it. And just as your brain reinforces the use of new behaviors, the connections supporting old, destructive behaviors will die off as you learn to limit your use of them.

So that being said, start analyzing. Where do you lie on the emotional intelligence scale? Do you need to start retraining your brain? I would love to hear your thoughts below in the comments.

[If you want to read more about emotional intelligence check out these posts on Human Engineers and Mashable.]