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This Soft Skill Might Be Worth More Than A Degree

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Posted on Tuesday, May 16, 2023
By: Hailey Heimbach
Categories: General

This Soft Skill Might Be Worth More Than A Degree
College degrees used to be almost mandatory to advance in your career. Now, though, employers may be looking for job candidates with valuable "soft skills," even if they don't have a college degree, especially in the retail, publishing, tech, and yes, even banking industries. Certain "learning mindset" characteristics, like curiosity, can be valuable in the workplace. Many employers may hire for these kinds of personality traits, looking for people who are easily trainable and then training the hard skills the job requires.

What is a Learning Mindset?
Curiosity, or its buzzword title "learning orientation," is the desire to seek new information. People who consistently seek out new and novel experiences or have an innate desire to learn new things are in high demand for jobs, with 71% of LinkedIn postings mentioning "curiosity" as a desirable characteristic for ideal job candidates.

How Can a Learning Orientation Set You Apart?
The drive to learn new things and build workplace skills makes you more attractive to employers. But, how can you make sure that your interviewing committee notices this?

  • Highlight your self-confidence and your propensity to contribute with vigor
  • Draw attention to your natural team orientation
  • Detail your desire to grow your career. Most job seekers want to advance, so present an interviewer with your specific plans to advance
  • Note instances where you demonstrated high-quality, profitable decision making
  • Impress interviewers with your resilience. Being flexible and adaptable is a valuable skill in all types of industries
How Can I Cultivate a Learning Orientation?
If you aren't a naturally curious person, you can still cultivate that valuable learning mindset. Broaden your surface-level knowledge of many things, and then do a deep dive on topics pertaining to your field that interest you. For example, if you're in banking and want a career in high finance, then begin with an overview of macroeconomics and then do some deep dives on investment strategies or business cycles and harbingers of a market shift. A broad interest in the field will give you familiarity with important aspects of it, while "going down the rabbit hole" on a few topics can give you that thorough, nuanced knowledge you need to solve problems in the workplace effectively.

Learning doesn't just come from books. You can learn from people, too, who have real-world experience and insight that you can't glean from reading a book or taking a class. Look for a mentor in your field to hone your industry-related knowledge. Seek out people different from you, with different perspectives and backgrounds, to learn more about diverse viewpoints and approaches to workplace challenges.

Make curiosity habitual. Instead of watching tik tok on your morning train commute, try listening to a podcast. When you travel, research the history of where you're going, and look for local historical sites instead of just tourist traps. A learning mindset doesn't turn off when you punch out – it's a constant interest in the world around you.

Bottom Line
Even if you don't think you're a naturally curious person, you can cultivate that soft skill with more focus and an intentional approach each day. Look for learning opportunities at work and in your down time. Starting a habit of trying to learn more will eventually stick and make you the kind of naturally curious person employers want.

Tagged:General, Information, Chamber, Tips and Tricks

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