Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Multiple Intelligences and Employability

Students often ask what employers are looking for. As with most things the answer is – it depends! One thing is clear though – leaving university with a good degree may be a good start BUT everyone else who is going to apply for the job you want will have a good degree as well. So the question becomes how do you make yourself distinct, unique, a sought after product?

It maybe useful to think about the skills you have gained in terms of different types of intelligences as outlined by Howard Gardner. Gardner suggested that there are many and different types of intelligence as in the list below.

It might be useful to think about the job you are applying for in relation to these types of intelligence. Which type or types do you think the job is most concerned with? In what order do you think an employer would rank these intelligences? Would the ranking be the same for every job? How do you demonstrate to your potential employee that you have that type of intelligence? A degree might be able to demonstrate a logical-mathematical intelligence, depending on the subject matter of the degree. Similarly, you might expect a holder of a degree to have linguistic intelligence and a geographer to have spatial and naturalist intelligence. Beyond having a degree how would you demonstrate these intelligences? Would your employer expect you to have all these intelligences or can you develop some of these in post to help further your career?

Other types of intelligences would seem to be important for developing a career as well. High interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences show an ability to understand other people and yourself as well as an ability to interact effectively with others in the context of work. I would suggest that a moral intelligence is also a keen feature for career development. The ability to work within a moral framework and to show that will help to develop trust between yourself and your colleagues. This may seem like a minor skill compared to the hours you may have spent figuring out how to understand multiple regression but it is an intelligence that will enable you to interact with others without them worrying about your motives. It is an intelligence that will engender trust in you and what you do – a vital component for career development. Really it is about your character and what how you project that to others. The problem is how do you show that you have any of these seemingly intangible intelligences? I would suggest that voluntary work is a good way to show both your existential and moral intelligence as well as developing these intelligences and your intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences. Voluntary work will also make your CV a little bit different from others.

Intelligence Characteristics

Interpersonal Capacity to understand others, to recognize their abilities, motivations and values. Allows effective working with others.

Intrapersonal Capacity to continually and accurately self-assess and to sue that understand to alter or maintain effective relationships with others

Linguistic Sensitivity to spoken and written word. Capacity to communicate thoughts and ideas effectively.

Logical-Mathematical Capacity to identify, analyse and solve problems mathematically and scientifically.

Spatial Capacity to identify patterns and understand rand model eality relationally in space.

Naturalist Capacity to identify and classify reality based on pattern recognition and to be sensitive and flexible enough to modify this depending on context

Body-kinesthetic Capacity to use body or parts of body to solve problems. Mental abilities co-ordinate movements of body.

Musical Capacity to perform, compose and appreciate musical patterns.

Existential Concern for ultimate issues. Could be seen as your religious outlook.

Moral Concern with rules, behaviours and attitudes that govern your life and the lives of others. Ethics and morals.

Howard Gardner has published these ideas in the books below:

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