PhD Careers Outside Academia: The Importance of Matching Your EQ to Your IQ
Have you ever wondered why you never got the “call back” after a job interview despite the fact that your profile matched the job description perfectly? Have you ever wondered why someone less skilled and experienced than you got the promotion you were aiming for? While it might be a question of “being at the right place at the right time”, there is another reason you might want to consider as you investigate Phd careers outside academia.
In this current job market, having a long list of achievements under your belt is not sufficient for you to get a job. In fact, a stellar resume could be your kryptonite during job interviews. Why? Simply because you might expect your accomplishments to speak for themselves.
A successful job search relies on many other factors than flawless credentials. To gain successful employment, job seekers need to identify and reach their audience, differentiate themselves from others, and communicate their difference to employers. In other words, despite your credentials, you might be unaware that your EQ does not match your IQ.
While your IQ measures your intellectual acumen and defines your ability to acquire, manage and apply knowledge, your EQ (or Emotional Quotient) measures your ability to leverage, manage and control your thinking and behavior as you relate to yourself and others. To put it simply, if your IQ accounts for your technical skills and your ability to learn and master information in ways that can be easily measured with numbers (GPA, test scores), your EQ refers to specific traits of your personality that are less tangible and that can only be assessed in person. The hard skills listed on your resume only become truly relevant when combined with the “soft skills” that make up your emotional intelligence.
According to The Bloomberg Job Skills Report, emotional intelligence ranks among the most desired yet “less common” qualities that employers look for when they interview candidates. Organizations seek future employees who possess a strong control over their impulses, and who can pick up on emotional cues and power dynamics in a team setting. They are also looking for people who can inspire, lead and motivate others while being open to understanding their needs and concerns. These skills are highly valued because they are more difficult to teach than technical skills and require more investment and more time from employers. So, when time comes to making a hiring decision, organizations often opt for someone with an average track record who possesses a high level of emotional intelligence.
While one can define communication skills as the ability to convey information effectively, it would be an error to confine them to data. Your communication skills are also about your emotional maturity and your ability to connect and engage with people on an emotional level. That’s why you should see job interviews as an opportunity to take charge of how you present yourself. While being “all talk and no substance” won’t get you very far, it is important to come up with imaginative and compelling ways to communicate messages that are in alignment with who you are throughout as you set yourself to pursue Phd careers outside academia.
It all starts by building on your self-awareness, one of the main components of your emotional intelligence. Before you go on a job interview, take a deep look at yourself objectively and examine your aspirations, your values, and your qualities. Organizations are looking for people that can provide detailed assessments of various facets of their personality. They seek candidates who have a strong sense of self and who can articulate their strengths and weaknesses on the spot.
Keep in mind that pursuing Phd careers outside academia isn’t all about numbers, facts and events that happened to you in the past. Be prepared to talk about how you deal with emotions in your work environment in an honest and authentic manner. Take a deeper look inside yourself, and match your EQ to your IQ. Look beyond your immediate professional achievements and start considering your life beyond numbers. You will not only thrive in the job market but also show the world the brilliant, exceptional, fascinating, and multi-faceted individual that you are.