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Stand out in midlife with your “smart skills” using these 5 tips



Where do you stand on the term "soft skills?”

Us? Not fans. Such an underwhelming name for skills critical to returning to the workforce, changing careers, and being an effective leader.

Non-technical does not mean soft!

These skills are portable from role to role and across industries. They're anything but “soft” and their name is much in need of a makeover!

We’re talking about skills like:

  • empathy

  • collaboration

  • communication

  • interpersonal skills

  • adaptability

  • agility

  • problem solving

  • teamwork

  • influencing

After working with hundreds of women in EvolveMe, transitioning careers in midlife, we know doubling down on transferable strengths is key to standing out when exploring a next chapter. And we’ve been searching for a better name for these skills for some time.

Thanks to this insightful Chief article, we're moving in the right direction. In fact, the origin of the term "soft skills," as detailed in the piece, is fascinating:

  • The nomenclature dates back to the US military in the 1960s when “soft skills” entailed anything that did not require machinery.

  • The term has since shuttled over to the corporate world and misapplied to refer to interpersonal skills or emotional IQ.

And now, the importance of transferable skills catching on.

We’re talking about skills like:

  • empathy

  • collaboration

  • communication

  • interpersonal skills

  • adaptability

  • agility

  • problem solving

  • teamwork

  • listening



The good news is that while women naturally excel in "smart skills" (and we love that!), smart skills can also be learned and improved.

Smart skills are the newest essential core competencies for all leaders who want to succeed in working with diverse colleagues, getting results, navigating change, and testing out new ideas.

Your “smart skills” will be the superpowers that help you be more resilient, adaptable, and agile in the workplace -- skills needed now more than ever.


EvolveMe TAKE ACTION TIPS

Take time to think about which smart skills you want to bring forward in your work. When you own your smart skills, you’ll be more likely to activate them and use them in your work. And they will power your career no matter what stage you’re in.

Commit to using 1 of the 5 takeaways below on how you can put your transferable skills to work!

  1. Interviewing for a new role or promotion: If you’re in midlife and wondering how to stand out from the competition (especially if they’re several years younger than you) elevate your leadership skills. They take years to hone. In an interview or a promotion, share how you got the job done in addition to what you did and learned – things like creating a vision for your team’s work; coaching employees and helping them grow and take on new responsibilities.

  2. Refreshing your resume: Your resume is often a list of all your accomplishments. You can make them shine even more by having your top “smart skills” front and center at the top. Select 6-8 skills that shape who you are as a professional and what you want to be known for and pepper those into your resume entries as they align with the job description key words.

  3. Leading a team: If you’re good at reading people, you probably have empathy. Try checking in with your team members before the official business to take the emotional pulse of the room – how are they feeling, what’s been on their minds. That will help you to stand out as a leader and differentiate you from everyone else who goes straight to the agenda!

  4. Networking: So many women we work with fear networking. And it’s because they’re not realizing they already have what it takes to network. It comes down to communication skills and knowing how to build relationships – and women are often great at it. The next time you’re reaching out to a new contact, think about the conversations you have in your friendships and channel that energy – what networking comes down to us is a conversation between two peers.

  5. Negotiating a raise: When you’re negotiating a raise you’ll use your communications skills to make your case. First be clear and compelling about your accomplishments and then how you’ve added value (quantify when you can!). Then, be curious about what current problems your manager wants to solve and use your listening skills to understand and then share back how you’ll help to contribute in the future.

At EvolveMe, we know that “smart skills” are your secret weapon. We call them “superpowers!” because they are unique to you and are often consistent over time.

If you're transitioning careers in midlife (returning to the workforce, job searching, changing industries or roles), start identifying your superpowers in our free resource below.

Investing time zeroing in on your strengths at the beginning of your journey will save you time and frustration later.

Download EvolveMe’s #1 career strategy tool you need for successful reinvention: EvolveMe’s Career SWOT (Strengths, Wishes, Opportunities, and Truths). It’s a planning tool businesses use, adapted for you with an EvolveMe spin!

Take your next step to move forward toward your next (best!) career chapter!

We want more for you!




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