Opinion

Resolve to abandon these two ‘skills’ during 2017 job hunt

English: A Multi-National Task Force (East) So...

English: A Multi-National Task Force (East) Soldier, rides shotgun on an AH-64 Apache during an Apache extraction exercise Aug. 25 at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s the end of 2016 and everyone is reflective on the year closing fast while simultaneously looking forward to all that is yet to come in 2017.

Some of the things we look forward to in 2017 include the possibility of new jobs with new challenges and rewards.

In order to not sabotage your chances of getting interviews for these coveted roles and subsequently being chosen over the rest of the candidate field, you must refrain from any mention of a couple of soft skills that will make you look old, or at the least, out of step with technological advances now occurring quarterly.

As a writer and technology enthusiast, I can continue to embrace less-than-current hardware for use in my daily workflow. I understand the importance of remaining current, technologically-speaking. That awareness, however, does not carry over to purchasing new hardware every two and a half to three years (as hardware manufacturers would prefer).

Nor does it involve not ready for prime-time technologies such as Siri or Cortana on desktop computers. In fact, I wrote about what a waste they are (in their current states) in one of my monthly columns on Computerworld.

The strategies I do recommend on the job hunt include a couple of easy-to-remember omissions that everyone considering pursuing a position outside of their present role should consider.

We communicate orally, by written means and also by way of our body language.

That which occurs during the course of verbal and written expression during a job hunt, however, is most critical.

USS Essex (LHD-2)

USS Essex (LHD-2) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Body language gurus were making the rounds during the 90’s and turn of the 21st century. Most anyone who is serious about pursuing a job, position or role already understands how to hold or place their hands, to sit up straight and/or keep eye contact when interviewing.

Sorry, body language SMEs, what’s on paper, digital format and what comes out of our mouths, is critically more important—especially given that many of the first interviews applicants undertake are completed over the phone.

So, now that we’ve read (or skimmed) this far in search of the two skills I suggest making no mention of in your job hunt process, here they are:

  • Attention to detail – This was actually a must for all resumes and CVs back in the 80’s, 90’s and through the first part of the new millennium. Attention to detail was being “mined” in resumes before there was even data mining technology utilized by HR pros. Candidates with attention to detail were seen as cutting edge, more reliable and known for quality work with minimal to no errors. This was widely held as a prized trait for candidates to possess.

So, why is attention to detail now something that should be left out of conversations as well as job applications? Mostly, for the very reason that it has been around as long as it has in the popular lexicon. Things that exist without evolving get left behind. Such is the case with attention to detail. At this point in the global economy we reside in, attention to detail no longer merits mentioning; it’s just considered a given. Using it to tout a strength just makes you look out of touch and will hasten the HR rep’s moving on to the next applicant for more serious consideration.

  • Multi-tasking – While saying you’re a great multi-tasker hasn’t been utilized for as long as stating you have great attention to detail has, you can fully expect the results of this strategy to be the same: zero, zip, nada. Before computers and cheap labor offshore hastened the explosion in growth for the global economy, the ability to multi-task was a prized characteristic of any job applicant.

So, why has the ability to multi-task effectively fallen out of favor with respect to seeing it mentioned in the soft skills section of an action resume? Again, much like attention to detail, multi-tasking has been around awhile now as buzz words to use on resumes and job applications.

But, just because it was a proven attention-grabber doesn’t mean you should use it anymore. If you do, it will be creating all the wrong kinds of attention.

Computers and ability to use them, have long fostered opportunities for operators who can work with multiple applications simultaneously.

There is also a school of thought that existed during multi-tasking’s resume-inclusion heyday that still is prevalent today. Just because you can do several things at once does not warrant your featuring it as a strength–the idea being if not focusing all of your attention to just one task, you’re doing several things with less than full effectiveness.

Technological advances continue to eat jobs at a ferocious pace. I was guilty of being an effective multi-tasker and having attention to detail. But, AI and robots have the ultimate ability to multi-task. Their ability to work without requiring rest is a breeding ground for attention to detail, too.

For us humans to remain competitive, though, “Effective multi-tasker” and “Attention to detail” under “Skills” or “Strengths” sections of job applications and/or resumes, should be avoided at all costs in 2017 and beyond.

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