Life Skills Career

Why Life Skills Are Important For Your Career

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“When I looked at the data from hundreds of companies, I discovered that emotional competencies are twice as important for professional success as IQ plus technical skill combined – and that’s true for every job from salesperson to CEO.” – Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

The quote above comes to mind when Bibi Caspari – life coach and founder of personal development organization, Forward Step – talks about her life skills curriculum.

Why Life Skills Are Important

The life skills curriculum, COMPASS, was designed to teach people about the value in personal responsibility. It also helps teach better ways to approach stress, behavioral problems, and communication skills so that individuals can live happier and productive lives.

“Life skills are non-tangible skills that deal with cognitive, social, and emotional competence,” said Caspari. “These types of intangible skills are what help develop better coping and success strategies.”

Caspari also said knowing oneself is crucial to these skills because knowing yourself better can help you make better choices.

Just as the Goleman quote implies, getting hired is more than having the perfect cover letter, the perfect resume, or the perfect references. Are these things important? Of course, but thoughts, attitudes and behaviors are also important things to consider, and these things tend to show during face-to-face contact (i.e. job interviews).

The COMPASS life skill curriculum Caspari has created is largely based on cognitive-behavioral therapy. The courses make students aware that their thoughts affect their emotions, which can then affect their behaviors, and consequently affect their outcomes.

“There are a lot of subtle things that go on that can determine someone’s perception of us and their receptivity to us,” said Caspari. This is important to consider during interviews since the way an employer perceives a potential candidate can determine whether or not that person gets hired. “The moment they walk through the door, they’re going to be judged,” she said.

According to the COMPASS curriculum, communication can be difficult in the sense that a lot of it doesn’t rely on words alone. “The words are only seven percent of the message. How we use our voices to say the words creates 38% of the impact.

Although it may be hard to believe, the visual impression we make creates 55% of the impact.” So while what we say to employers during interviews is important, how we say it and with what movements play a much larger role than we may think.

“Wanting the job is the first step in terms of career search,” said Caspari. “If you can demonstrate to the interviewer that this is something you’re excited about because of the opportunities within the work environment, you’re already way ahead.”

How we communicate these professional wants with integrity and authenticity is what’s crucial. If we can become better communicators, and better employees by practicing our life skills, we can get into a more positive mindset for both our personal and professional lives, which can only lead to more positive outcomes.


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Belen Chacon

Belen is a journalism graduate student at California State University, Northridge. She spends her time interning wherever she can and tweeting her heart out. You can follow her @journobelen.

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