By Karen O’Reilly
What skills do we need for the world we work in now, the world of work that has been completely turned on its head in the last two years and will, hopefully, never look and feel the same again? The internet blew up last week as people spoke of the hottest new soft skill to have on your CV; Hybrid competency – a term that would have had us all googling the meaning of pre Covid; makes perfect sense as we navigate our way from traditional presenteeism to a more flexible way of managing our work/life balance.
So, what other top skills have we learnt and should be highlighting to advance our careers to show that we are hybrid competent?
Flexible work specialists Employflex give their (tongue-in-cheek) top 10 to include on your CV/next interview:
1. Zoomologist – cast your mind back to the days before Covid struck and you had never heard of zoom, MS teams or Cisco…now they are simply a part of our daily working lives. So many people were genuinely petrified of Zoom and the learning curve was a steep and sometimes reluctant one, but now, after two years of constantly being on one video conferencing tool or another, it is second nature. It is lovely to actually go to events, meet clients and rub shoulders with people in real life again, but zoom and its ilk have eliminated many unnecessary journeys and time spent traipsing around when, yes, it could just have been an online meeting.
2. Precision writing engineer – virtual communication leaves no room for ambiguity – we have had to learn to be very exact in our writing skills – precise and thorough – a tricky one. Emojis too can be useful when relaying a difficult message. Fluency in emoji language would be a distinct advantage.
3. Juggler – while working remotely or from home, an asynchronous workstyle, hopping from major to minor tasks, as well as managing the household agenda, requires discipline and serious multi-tasking skills. Targets, schedules, deadlines, all need to be met without the discipline of an office environment or a boss looking over your shoulder. Outlining the projects you have accomplished while working autonomously over the past two years can demonstrate your professional juggling capacities.
4. A rabbit hole avoider – for this we need discipline, self-control and superior organisational skills – hours, days and weeks can be lost as we scramble around social media rabbit holes procrastinating our working week away. Good managers will set goals built on results and not just time at the desk/computer. Individually, we require daily plans to keep us on track, while building reasonable breaks into our patterns so that we don’t risk burnout or work fatigue.
5. Cross-cultural collaboration expert – in the olden days (pre Covid) when working on a project, we’d meet our colleagues in the corridor, at meetings, at the famous water cooler and talk through ideas, issues and brainstorm. Now, distributed teams have to organise a time and be a little more patient – your colleague may be on the other side of the world, in a difference time zone – managing this requires cross country literacy, understanding and more planning.
6. Masters in empathy – particularly for leaders, many of whom have always believed that they need to lead with vision, inspiration and motivation, all of which are true and commendable, but in a remote world, a leader must first and foremost, be an active listener.
7. A creative professional virtual background developer – another very useful skill to outline when looking for work is your ability to create the illusion that you are working in a ‘fancy pants’ beautifully decorated office environment with clean white lines while you actually are in the utility room with a pile of dirty laundry stacked up behind you – an invaluable tool in your toolbox of competencies.
8. Innovator – working from home means that we cannot always lean on our colleagues, workmates or managers when we run into an issue – we may have to (gasp!) solve it ourselves. The ability to think on your feet, take control and the initiative are skills that may need to be sharpened if you have been institutionalised for all your working life and are an expert at delegating to your peers and passing the buck.
9. Snazzy upper-body dresser – no-one cares and knows that you are in shorts/pyjamas, fish net stockings… your upper half is totally professional, sharp and makes the right impression. Just don’t stand up to get something from your filing cabinet mid meeting without turning off your camera!
10. Experience in ALF (Active Listening Face) – When we are online, particularly in meetings where there are a few others on board, one must try to maintain an active listening face – there is nothing worse when giving a presentation , knowing that people are working on something else on their device, scrolling on their phones or just simply zoned out. We just would not do this if in person at a meeting and common courtesy should prevail online but alas it does not – RBF (Resting Bitch Face) is to be avoided at all times.