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What Makes You Employable in 2010? (Singapore Star)

What Makes You Employable in 2010?

Traits That Will Enhance Your Chances of Getting Hired

By Stuart Parkin

Published: February 01, 2010

Stuart Parkin
Stuart Parkin

We live in a rapidly changing business world, and the agency business is likely to continue to face huge shifts in 2010. Still, there are certain core tenets that can act as guidelines to help make you more employable. Here’s what will get you hired this year.

1. EQ. Emotional intelligence is so important for so many reasons, none more important than the fact that advertising and marketing is about people. Fundamentally this skill is about the ability to empathize and to read people, but it’s also about the ability to act on this understanding in a meaningful way, a critical skill for the agency business.

2. Organizational Skills. Effective presentation is about content and style. The right look and the right words in concert are key, whether at an interview or pitching a piece of business. Project-management roles are becoming more in demand as business becomes increasingly project-focused.

3. AQ. IQ and EQ are certainly critical to success today, but even more important is adaptability quotient. Practically this refers to a mindset that embraces change. Individuals who have a high AQ will often pick fast-paced, rapidly changing environments. They can use skills they have developed in one job in a totally different context. Adaptability plays out in many forms: vocational, mental, geographic, linguistic, financial, hours worked. The more of these any individual can embrace, the better his or her employment chances. Simply said, doing things that others don’t want to do or are incapable of doing is key to enhancing opportunities and going beyond existing roles. More significant AQ points to a mindset that strives for results, whatever the variables are.

4. Ideas-Driven Mentality. Top business strategists have an almost childlike interest in seeing things in new ways. They are hungry for knowledge and perhaps travel and read much and are interested in new fashion, be it apparel or electronic. An employee who can make a difference is one who has a healthy interest not just in the status quo but in making things better. Those who search for new perspectives will be welcomed by agencies and clients alike.

5. Entrepreneurial Mindset. Seeing things in different contexts is valuable, and new ideas are always welcome, but what’s critical is making meaning of ideas in a commercial context.

6. Personality. I have interviewed hundreds of people, some for jobs for which you might assume personality is not so important. The reality is that whether you’re creative, financial or strategic — and not just account people — those with personality get the best out of people with whom they interact, both inside and outside the agency.

7. Communication Skills. Written and verbal skills are important in a business that is all about messages, ultimately communicated via image or word. Articulating a perspective, arguing a viewpoint, selling an idea — they all depend on language skills. Language skills for new media are important, but more critical are social skills and face-to-face communication, which, to some extent, are threatened by e-mail, SMS and other modes of communication.

8. Persistence. A single-mindedness, a determination, an ability to endure not only sets one apart but is often the difference between those who succeed and those who don’t. If for no other reason, persistence equals opportunity to be in the right place at the right time.

9. A Sense of Mission. A clear sense of mission and a stake in that mission binds individuals, teams and companies together. Even the least passionate person, a less-than-stellar communicator, a person who easily gives up, can become a passionate, communicating trooper if he has a sense of mission.

10. Passion. If you enjoy something enough, that passion touches other people. Enthusiasm can absolutely differentiate you from an equally qualified but slightly morose soul. If you enjoy something, you have a greater chance at excelling at it and therefore being in demand to do it, whatever it is.

Stuart Parkin is a New York-based career coach and executive recruiter. He has 20 years of experience in agency new-business and marketing and has worked on four continents across agency disciplines. He has run Sparkin, his New York-based consultancy, for seven years, working with a range of traditional, multicultural, digital and PR agencies including DDB, Rapp, SpikeDDB, Porter Novelli, Dieste, Fallon, Berlin Cameron and Organic.
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