Start Building Emotional Intelligence Today

According to PsychologyToday, emotional intelligence “is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.”

Why does emotional intelligence matter in a college student’s career journey? Well, emotional regulation is utilized in your everyday life – in your relationships, interpersonal interactions, and the workplace. When you start working full-time after you graduate, you will be working in a team, working cross-functionally with other teams, interacting with higher-ups… bottom line is, you will constantly be interacting with others. There will be people you like, people you don’t like, and people who like you, and don’t like you. Miscommunication and disagreements will incite conflicts and rile your emotions. It is important to remember to have strong emotional regulation skills so you have the ability to work in harmony with your teammates and be quick to solve problems as soon as they arise.

Emotional intelligence, according to Daniel Goleman in his book, “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ and Working With Emotional Intelligence,” relies on five competencies:

  1. Self-awareness: know one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values, and goals and recognize their impacts on others while using gut feelings to guide decisions
  2. Self-regulation: manage or redirect one’s disruptive emotions and impulses and adapt to changing circumstances
  3. Social Skill: manage others’ emotions to move people in the desired direction
  4. Empathy: recognize, understand, and consider other people’s feelings when making decisions
  5. Motivation: motivate oneself to achieve for the sake of achievement

These five competencies are built over time. It takes considerable effort and time to self-reflect and become self-aware. Luckily, self-innovation is a conscious and continuous effort – there will never be an end to self-development as we expose ourselves to new environments, meet new people, and experience new things.

The career journey of a college student is arduous yet rewarding. There is much opportunity for growth. Even if it seems like the internship/job hunt is not going well, there are other areas of improvement you can focus on to ensure you are a well-rounded,  mature candidate. Emotional intelligence is evident in people by how well they handle difficult situations.

To see where you are on the emotional intelligence scale, take this HarvardBusinessReview quiz: Do You Lead With Emotional Intelligence?