How to Leverage Communication for Career Success
Recently a colleague suggested that he doesn’t bother reading cover letters from job applicants as he feels they hold no value. To him, communication may be a dead art, but cover letters can provide great insight into a candidate’s qualifications, skills, and attributes. If a job seeker is smart, the cover letter is a valuable tool to landing that next job. In fact, according to Career Quest “communication skills consistently rank at the top of the list of soft skills hiring managers are looking for in new hires.” How can candidates and employees use communication for success?
Communication is a multi-faceted tool providing leverage for success. Communication obviously involves speaking and writing. However, there are other facets to this valuable tool that may not always be as obvious as we can nether see nor hear them. Indeed, many people do not consider them when evaluating their communication skills. This blog examines the obvious and not so obvious facets of communication and you can leverage them to your career advantage.
Speaking is one of the major venues we humans use to communicate and connect.
- When speaking you need to be clear, concise, and brief. Overexplaining situations, circumstances, or your reasoning can set up a barrier to communication. When people see you coming, they may turn and go the other way. Certainly, that scenario won’t lead to many productive conversations.
- Be interesting and relevant. You can achieve that by keeping up with trends. When in an interview, it is never wise to overuse jargon, but if you don’t speak any of the language or become stumped if the interviewer uses a phrase you should know, not good.
- Increase your vocabulary. This doesn’t mean you should strive to be a “smarty pants” and talk over people’s heads, but having a better vocabulary helps you to process information quickly and a good vocabulary can lead to success. A good vocabulary is not a result of success.
Going back to the cover letter, you can use any of the above ideas in a cover letter to illustrate your communication attributes. Writing is still in demand; sending emails is a daily ritual, writing reports may be a monthly, quarterly, or annual task, writing summaries can save time, and launching letters explaining products, processes, and ideas are just some of the ways you can leverage communication for more success.
Emails alone are reason enough to hone your writing skills as we use email many times daily at work. In both writing and speaking, your tone is important as speaking or writing with the unintended tone can lead to disaster, like even losing your job!
It isn’t called body language for no reason. How you sit, carry yourself, and even your posture while listening can send strong messages about who you are, your level of engagement, and your self-confidence.
Speaking of listening…listening is a vital component of communication. Any parent can tell you the frustration of children who fail to listen. This is no different for your co-workers or boss. Listen actively and for understanding. Rather than have thoughts about what you are going to say next, stop and listen. You must have an understanding about the expectations of your boss, customer needs, and how to work better with your co-workers. All of these are the result of good listening skills.
Not to insinuate that technology is another language, however, it does require a more in depth understanding that many may be willing to invest the time to achieve. Delivering different messages requires different mediums and the protocols of each can be different. For example, our global and even nationwide locations now demand a venue like Zoom or Go to Meeting rather than a conference call. The face-to-face delivery is more important than ever for mutual understanding. Today, there is no success without technology.
The greatest test of your communication skills will no doubt be in the arena of conflict resolution. Negotiating is a close second. If you aspire to higher position levels in your career, those positions come with increasing numbers of people and teams. Managing people means there will be not only increasing numbers of difficult conversations, but an increasing complexity of those conversations. Implementing your communication skills to handle and diffuse conflict can be a key success factor for your career.
Effective leaders possess effective communication skills. As a leader, it is imperative that you can communicate your ideas. Anyone who has been through an organizational change process has an even deeper understanding of that idea. Moreover, each member of every executive team is an individual with multi-facets. Understanding that every member of your executive team has a different communication style and understanding how to articulate well enough to reach every team member’s communication style can make any leader successful.
As you can discern, a well-written cover letter can be an effective weapon in the job hunt jungle. Overall, using the multi-facets of communication to enhance and grow your career is a wise leveraging strategy for success.
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