How To Stand Out In Your Career: An Interview With Someone Like You

By Katie Gangloff

Emotional intelligence: the next big thing to have when trying to stand out to potential employers. How do you figure out how much emotional intelligence you have? When you figure that out, how do you know if you’re using it for the right reasons? Jonathan Rosenthal is a young professional trying to start a career in this tough economy. Recently graduating with a Master of Healthcare Administration degree, Jon tells us about his hopes and dreams and we find out what he wants to be when he grows up. Although Jon is not an expert on emotional intelligence, or EI, it is always great to get some insight from the average Joe about using emotional intelligence to our advantage.

Occam’s Taser: What type of job are you looking to get with your degree?
Jonathan Rosenthal:  Ideally, I’d love to obtain a manager or supervisor position dealing with operations or quality and safety within a large healthcare system in Chicago; however, realistically, I’ll be glad to have an entry level position in any field at any healthcare venue within the Chicagoland area.

OT: Are you willing to take any job in this economy, or are you still sticking only to fields within your degree?
JR:  My graduate program prepared me for a mid-level position in the industry, but with the economy still recovering and full-time jobs at a premium, I’ll settle for anything at this point.  With several applications out to various organizations (not all are degree related) for a variety of position types (entry level and mid-level) and no responses after months of waiting, I may have to consider less attractive options to remain employed for the time being.  I won’t be selling myself short though, because I’ll still pursue a more permanent (career-focused) job in the meantime.

OT: What other areas are you interested in? Given your background, do you think you can find a job in a different field?
JR:  I have a secondary passion for student affairs/academic affairs at a higher-ed institution (such as universities and colleges).  For the past 4 1/2 years I’ve been heavily involved in the New Student and Parent Orientation Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).  In addition, I’ve participated in numerous other student development groups/programs/positions at UIC broadening my scope and boosting my interest in the field.  With so much of my undergraduate and graduate life spent working for these areas, I have a strong background in student affairs and academic affairs, and feel confident that I could find a job in this field.  In fact, I have submitted applications for full-time permanent positions in this industry just in case my pursuit of a healthcare career falls short.

OT: This week we learned about emotional intelligence in the workplace. EI is the ability to control your emotions and utilize them when working in groups toward a universal goal. Is this something you are aware of in your current job?
JR:  This is something that I regularly do, whether I’m conscious of it or not. I never really thought much of it until you posed this question, so I guess I wasn’t aware of it in my current job.  However, when someone in one of my working groups is unable to control their emotions, the impact of that is definitely felt and it is always negative.  Being emotionally intelligent seems very necessary and professional, so having this ability will only enhance work performance and team effort.

OT: Do you think you are doing a good job of controlling your emotions and utilizing them for a common goal?
JR: Due to my student development mindset and work setting, it is essential for me to foster and maintain an environment that is motivational, supportive, and team centric.  To do this, I must be emotionally intelligent and set the example.  I think that I do a good job of controlling my emotions in the work place and using them for the common good.  However, I’m generally a calm, cool, and collected person, so being emotionally unrestricted would be out of character for me.

OT: You mentioned that you are applying for jobs right now. How do you think you stand out in the job pool with your high level of EI?
JR: I find it difficult to translate emotional intelligence into meaning on a resume or cover letter, but it is very useful during an interview.  Emotional intelligence will help candidates exude confidence allowing them to shine in an interview.  Controlling your emotions and focusing that energy into well constructed, honest, real responses speaks volumes in an interview setting.  Candidates who can present themselves professionally and profoundly without losing meaning or emotional connection will definitely have a one-up on other candidates.  This is what I strive to do in my application package. Constructing powerful and purposeful resumes and cover letters coupled with a personal touch during an interview is a great way to snag a job.

All in all, the ability to control your emotions and understand those of your co-workers tends to result in better job performance and, more importantly, can help you dominate in the workplace. Setting an example is easy if you are emotionally intelligent. For Jon, being emotionally intelligent is a necessity. Being aware of your emotional intelligence can get you ahead in the workplace and help you stand out. If you are an aspiring careerist fresh out of school, don’t forget to outwit fellow applicants with your sharp emotional intelligence.


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