Industry Expertise Not Enough

A recent study by Accountemps provides some interesting results on the significance of “people skills” in your job search. Although most job seekers may believe industry expertise to be their key selling point, it may not be enough to secure your next position according to the results from a national survey of 270 CFO’s.

CFOs were asked, “If two candidates interviewing for an accounting or finance position had similar skills, which one of the following additional qualifications would you find most valuable?” Topping the list at 31% was “personality or people skills”! Perhaps even more significant are the results of the study in 2004 at only 1% for “personality and people skills”. The trend is clear showing the value of “industry specific experience” at 20% in 2009 and in 2004 it was 44%.

“Interpersonal skills take center stage in a collaborative workplace,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Job Hunting For Dummies®, 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).

Whether it is the focus on collaboration and teamwork, the fact that we are becoming more educated, the continual expansion of interaction required in today’s business world or the vast number of qualified candidates available, it is clear that industry expertise is not enough.

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