You've heard it for years now: Robots are taking over! They're stealing all the jobs! Before you panic, let's focus on what robots can't do.
You've seen the “60 Minutes” specials. You've read The New York Times exposés. “Robots are competing with humans for jobs,” they say. “Robots are transforming the workforce,” they report.
That's enough to send everyone into a mild panic. Think about the role that computers, software automation, and artificial intelligence have already played in reshaping jobs. On a daily basis, you probably use self-checkouts, ATMs, and customer service chatbots. The examples can go on and on, but the point isn't to scare you.
The truth is, it's difficult to predict the actual impact robots will have on jobs. But one thing that's certain? There are still a number of skills that robots can't take away from humans — and you'll want to highlight these skills on your resume to help you stand out from the bots.
Here are four human skills to include on your resume that automation won't be able to replace:
1. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is simply the ability to control and express your emotions, as well as understand and shape the emotions of others. Whether you're communicating with co-workers, customers, or clients, you need some degree of emotional intelligence.
Imagine if your manager didn't possess an ounce of emotional intelligence. They wouldn't be able to effectively communicate with you, wouldn't understand why you might need to work from home one day, and wouldn't be able to help you manage your stress. They just simply wouldn't understand.
Now, there are robots being developed that use artificial intelligence to read social cues and detect emotions, but they can't replace human workers and the complexities of the human condition. Sure, they might be able to register emotions, but that doesn't mean they can build relationships and show empathy like you.
Even if you don't have an off-the-charts EQ, it's still a lot higher than a machine's. As you interact with your co-workers, direct-reports, and management, keep your EQ in mind. Note key examples where it's helped you be better at your job and don't be afraid to mention these in your next job interview or weave empathy into your personal brand.
2. Creative problem solving
Because robots can't tap into and understand human psychology like other humans can, they won't be able to creatively problem solve like product designers, advertisers, and marketers have to.
Think about it: Say you've created a Facebook ad, but people aren't engaging with it. Will a computer be able to effectively theorize why and pose a solution? They might be able to plug in some formula and adjust the ad, but that doesn't always work. Oftentimes you have to understand your audience — get inside their head.
Creative problem solving can mean a number of things: resolving employee conflict, meeting a client's goals, or even adjusting internal workflow processes.
Take a moment to think of a few times you've had to get creative to solve a problem. Walk through your decision-making process and explore how you came to a solution. Could a machine do that? Probably not. Keep these instances in mind while updating your resume.
3. Management (both technological and human)
Many companies already use software and artificial intelligence programs to manage their employers, products, or services. Implementing these tools allows employees to bypass menial tasks and instead focus on more important work.
So, technically, automation has already started taking over many workplaces — but you still need humans to monitor it. Here's an example: Your company's accountant or bookkeeper probably uses a program to track income and expenses. But what happens when that program crashes? When there's a payment error? Do you bring in another software or automated process? No, you need a human to detect that mistake and use those problem-solving skills to correct it. And when it comes to managing employees, computers and automation simply can't replace humans.
As you continue to advance in your career, keep these managerial needs in mind. Highlight your experience managing both technology and other humans to help show employers your value.
Sure, you've seen robots communicate with each other and even humans. But they still can't totally replace humans — both internally within a company and externally to customers.
Think about those days you work from home or communicate with co-workers exclusively through your company's messaging system. It works just fine, but it's not as effective as face-to-face (or video-to-video) interactions. And that's just internally — what about communicating with your audience outside the company?
When talking about communication skills, it's also important to consider nonverbal communication skills; these are often just as important as your verbal skills.
Simply put: Robots cannot communicate with humans like humans can. Again, as you continue to progress in your career, think about the way you communicate both internally and externally. Make an effort to finesse those soft skills in a variety of situations — and to highlight them on your resume.
Conclusion: Will robots take my job?
To be honest, it's difficult to predict exactly how technology will shape the workforce. Automation has certainly taken over some jobs, but there are certain human skills it simply won't be able to match.
So, what do you have to do? First, don't worry too much. Keep focusing on your job and growing your skills. Second, keep the skills robots can't replace top of mind as you update your resume. Even if you're not looking for a new job right now, keep developing your professional skills so you can show them off when it comes time to job search.
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