Here you are, studying hard for exams, working hard to learn the law and earn good grades. Good grades = good job, right? If only it were that simple. Just like your college and law school applications needed solid grades and a list of extracurricular activities to show you were “well-rounded,” employers are looking for candidates with not only legal knowledge, but also what Human Resources officers refer to as “soft skills,” or emotional intelligence. To learn more about how employers identify emotional intelligence, check out The EQ Interview: Finding Employees with High Emotional Intelligence.
Peggy Klaus, author of The Hard Truth About Soft Skills — Workplace Lessons Smart People Wish They’d Learned Sooner (2008), offers a quiz where you can test your soft skills. She identifies six major soft skill categories: managing yourself, communication, organizational savvy, self promotion, dealing with differences, and handling others. You can, of course, read the recommended chapters of her book, but you may also be interested in some additional resources available here at BU that can help you become a more effective professional.
- The Results-Driven Manager: Managing Yourself for the Career You Want: A Timesaving Guide (2004) (Pardee Management Library HD38 .R414 2004)
- ABA Basic Guide to Punctuation, Grammar, Workplace Productivity, and Time Management (2012) (Law Reserve KF 250 .K73 2012)
- Real-World Time Management: Second Edition (2008)
- Why Not?: How to Use Everyday Ingenuity to Solve Problems Big and Small (2003) (Pardee Management Library HD 30.29 .N35 2003)
- The Art and Science of Communication: Tools for Effective Communication in the Workplace (2008) (Alumni Medical Library HF 5718 P451a 2008)
- Why Didn’t You Say that in the First Place? How to be Understood at Work (1994) (Mugar Storage – Use Request Form)
- Talk at Work: Interaction in Institutional Settings (1992) (Mugar P95 .T28 1992)
Organizational Savvy (AKA Office Politics)
- Organizational Traps: Leadership, Culture, Organizational Design (2010) (Pardee Management Library HD 58.7 .A74 2010)
- Games at Work: How to Recognize and Reduce Office Politics (2009)
- Survive Office Politics: How to Steer a Course Through Minefields at Work (2009)
- The Next Generation of Women Leaders: What You Need to Lead but Won’t Learn in Business School (2010) (Pardee Management Library HD 6054.3 .R49 2010)
- The Law Firm Associate’s Guide to Personal Marketing and Selling Skills (2007) (Annex 316.5 A95 2007). For information about this title, see my previous review.
- Karin Proost, Filip Germeys & Bert Schreurs, When Does Self-Promotion Work? The Influence of Temporal Distance on Interviewer Evaluations, 11 J. Personnel Psych. 109 (2012).
- Jeffrey Pfeffer, et al., Overcoming the Self-Promotion Dilemma: Interpersonal Attraction and Extra Help as a Consequence of Who Sings One’s Praises, 32 Personality & Soc. Psych. Bull. 1362 (2006).
Dealing With Differences
- Working with Cultural Differences: Dealing Effectively with Diversity in the Workplace (2008) (Pardee Management Library HF 5549.5 .M5 B74 2008)
- Type Talk at Work: How 16 Personality Types Determine Your Success on the Job (2002) (Pardee Management Library BF 698.9 .O3 K68 2002)
- Bullies, Tyrants, and Impossible People: How to Beat Them Without Joining Them (2005)
- A Survival Guide for Working with Humans: Dealing with Whiners, Back-Stabbers, Know-It-Alls, and Other Difficult People (2004)
You will encounter situations at your summer jobs that will allow you to reflect on your efficacy in each of these areas. Remember that no one masters soft skills; we’re all continually trying to improve our abilities in each of these areas. Please take advantage of the resources available here as you learn the “softer” side of the profession.