Communication and collaboration: a key to your next job

At this time in history, the vast majority of the population of any country is most likely aware of the fact that what will make the difference in their job interviews and applications is their soft skills. In this article, we want to specifically look at communication and collaboration, and how important they are in your job-hunt or first job experience.

Collaboration is the process of two or more people or organizations working together to complete a task or achieve a goal. In the recent years, collaboration was greatly aided by the widespread development of online software, which gave the possibility to individuals and whole organizations to work remotely in large groups. So we can’t consider collaboration without mentioning its ability to enable relationships to form.

In some cases of collaboration, even a play ethic could apply, work can become more game-like or play-like in order to make using computers or doing shared work a more comfortable experience.

An essential tool for collaboration is communication. Usually, each collaborating team has some internal, previously agreed-upon set of rules (protocols), which everyone should observe during common work. For example, it is common practice to leave comments or explanations if you edit a shared document or make amendments in other works.

The rules of etiquette (netiquette) that apply when communicating over the Internet or social networks or devices are different from those applied when communicating in person or by audio (such as telephone) or videophone. Communicating with others via the Internet without misunderstandings in the heat of the moment can be challenging, mainly because input from facial expressions and body language is absent in cyberspace.

The biggest obstacle to communication in online settings is the lack of emotional cues. Facial cues dictate the mood and corresponding diction of two people in a conversation. During phone conversations, tone of voice communicates the emotions of the person on the other line. But with chat rooms, instant messaging apps, texting and online collaboration, any signals that would indicate the tone of a person’s words or their state of emotion are absent.
Nevertheless, this must not give room to malpractices while communicating, especially in a work environment. The difference between regulated communication and free-form interactions should be clear. While it is perfectly acceptable to incorporate both emoticons and abbreviations in your communication with friends and family, it should be noted that this is not the norm in business communication or in online collaboration. Try expressing your thoughts and ideas via text, and keep the colloquial abbreviations and emoticons for personal and friendly exchange with the partners.

In conclusion, soft skills are not the only attributes employers are looking for, a major asset while job haunting is self-improving your digital skills. Becoming advanced digital-savvy means being aware on how to continue to boost your knowledge about digital tools. Make sure you remain up to date with the different digital technologies available, and the most commonly used in the workspace you’re looking forward to entering.