Communication Skills Are Critical to Your Successful Job Search

communicationsBy Frances Chaves

Good communication skills are critical for job-seekers. According to research, 85 percent of financial success is based on your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate and lead. Only 15 percent is due to technical knowledge. People overwhelmingly preferred to do business with people they liked and trusted rather than people they did not like, even if the likeable people offered lower quality products or services at a higher rate.

According to Joshua Waldman, author of Job Searching With Social Media for Dummies, “In our knowledge-economy, how you think and how you communicate those thoughts is your most valuable asset. Most professional jobs require that you make informed decisions, and you will certainly need to be able to justify those decisions with clarity.”

When you get to the point of speaking to Human Resources or a Hiring Manager, you want to be liked and perceived as a good communicator. Actors and comedians rehearse and practice their lines — and so should job seekers. Here are some tricks to practice to help people like you — and hire you:

• Much of the meaning conveyed in conversation is transmitted through body language. Make sure that yours is open and positive.
• Hone your listening skills — then reflect back to the other speaker what you have heard.
• Make eye contact but do not overdo it. Either look from one eye to the other or focus on the forehead.
• Speak clearly; do not mumble. Enunciate your words.
• Use language correctly. Mispronouncing words makes you sound ignorant as does incorrect use of grammar.
• Do not speak too quickly. Talking too fast is interpreted as nervousness and being unsure of yourself.
• Check the pitch of your voice. High and whiny voices suggest lack of authority. Or you may not be taken seriously if your voice is high pitched and overly soft.
• Watch the volume. Be sure that you are being heard but do not overdo it. Speak more softly when close to another person; more loudly when in a group.
• Raise and lower the pitch of your voice to avoid sounding monotonous which causes the other person to quit listening.
• Avoid breaking the flow of the conversation by interrupting or talking over the other person.
• Try to get the other person to give you feedback so that you know you are being heard and understood.

When you are interviewing for a job, you need to communicate your positive attributes. By casting these in terms of what you can contribute to the job helps to avoid giving the appearance of being a braggart or a blow-hard. Practicing these tips helps you to speak with confidence.



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