Sharing Your Emotional Intelligence in the Job Search, Part 1

In a blog post this week, blogger Denis Wilson summarized the increasing value employers place on candidate emotional intelligence (EI).  As Wilson noted, more and more employers are evaluating candidate emotional intelligence formally with assessments.

Why is this important? Personality has long been the #1 reason employers hire candidate A over candidate B – there’s nothing new in that. But as psychologists expand upon the ground-breaking research of Dr. Daniel Goleman into emotional intelligence, employers have come to recognize that there’s more to personality than how well a potential candidate fits into the team – there’s the critical issue of how well a candidate can perceive, understand, and cope with their own and other’s emotions.

What should you do?

  • First, I would suggest that you learn more about emotional intelligence and take one or more of the quick, free assessments available on the Internet. You need to know what your emotional intelligence strengths and weaknesses are. Free online EI tests include TalentSmart, MySkillsProfile, and IHHP.
  • Once you’ve determined what your EI assets and liabilities are, you need a plan to [a] showcase your assets in your career communications tools (resume, cover letter, thank you letter, LinkedIn profile); [b] bolster your EI liabilities; and [c] communicate your EI assets verbally in phone screenings and face-to-face interviews.

We’ll explore [b] and [c] in future blog posts; for today, let’s focus on how to spotlight your emotional intelligence in your career communications tools:


  • Weave 2-3 carefully chosen adjectives in your summary which specifically address emotional competencies such as self-confidence, self-awareness, insight, compassion, dealing with conflict, and the like. Don’t simply state that you are self-confident – use fresh language and metaphors to demonstrate that.
  • In addition to including testimonials in your resume about your strongest industry-specific skills, also consider adding a testimonial which addresses your communications, leadership, or team-building capabilities. Again, don’t simply say that you are a strong communicator or great leader – find new ways to showcase these proficiencies.
  • Try dividing your core competencies list into sub-sections, one of which could be dedicated your  emotional competencies. Challenge yourself to get specific about your emotional management and problem-solving skills.
  • Include one or more “softer” success stories in your work history section which demonstrate how effectively you build teams, resolve personality differences, and manage interpersonal conflict. Remember to use the PAR/CAR formula (problem-action-result; challenge-action-result) to share the meat of your emotional management competencies in story form.

I’ll dive into letter and LinkedIn strategies in my next post. In the meantime, if you have questions about how to do any of these things, be sure to ask.

Here’s to your emotionally-rich resume!

Cheryl Simpson

About Cheryl Lynch Simpson

Cheryl is a Career, Job Search & LinkedIn Coach and Master Resume Writer. She has helped clients in >35 industries on 6 continents and has earned 24 global resume writing nominations and awards.