In 2016, sophomores at Notre Dame University came up with an idea to address growing political tension on their campus. Following a contentious and polarizing election cycle, they found that hosting spaces for students to decompress and share their thoughts openly with each other eased pent up animosity toward those with differing political views. Those sophomores then reached out to other students in California who were doing similar work on campus, and together they created BridgeUSA. The work of those initial BridgeUSA members led them to jobs in places like the State Department, VICE Media, local government institutions, Raytheon Technologies, the Ezra Klein show and the Atlantic.
In today’s interconnected and diverse world, the ability to build bridges between communities and foster collaboration is an essential skill that transcends borders and industries. Civic bridge-building skills, which encompass empathy, effective communication, cultural competence, and a commitment to fostering social cohesion, are increasingly valued by employers. With AI on the rise, many now wonder about the future of their industries. And while it underscores a new era of technological advancements, AI cannot supplant skills needed to collaborate and navigate differences effectively as human beings.
Here is a list of resume skills that are still championed by employers today, and have roots in bridge-building:
1. Effective Communication
Possessing strong communication skills is a fundamental aspect of bridge-building. By being able to convey ideas clearly and listen actively, individuals with this skillset can bring people together and facilitate constructive conversations. Such talents are highly desirable in the workplace, as they enable employees to collaborate with colleagues from diverse backgrounds, clients, and stakeholders.
When highlighted on your resume, the ability to communicate effectively can attract potential employers seeking candidates who can foster teamwork, resolve conflicts, and build strong relationships with other partners, co-workers and constituents. Moreover, effective communicators are often entrusted with leadership roles, as they can articulate organizational visions and inspire others to work towards shared goals.
2. Cultural Competence
Bridge-building necessitates understanding and appreciating the nuances of different cultures. Cultivating cultural competence allows individuals to transcend cultural barriers and work across differences in any environment. In the globalized world of business, this skill is becoming increasingly valuable, as companies seek to expand their markets and engage with customers from diverse backgrounds.
On your resume, emphasizing your cultural competence can demonstrate your ability to work effectively in multicultural teams and adapt to various business environments. Employers recognize the value of employees who can navigate cross-cultural situations gracefully, contributing to the development of strong partnerships and business growth.
3. Empathy and Emotional Intelligence
Empathy lies at the heart of civic bridge-building. The capacity to understand and share the feelings of others is crucial for building connections and resolving conflicts in any context, be it professional or personal. Emotional intelligence, which encompasses empathy, self-awareness, and social skills, allows individuals to navigate complex interpersonal relationships with sensitivity and tact.
When integrated into your resume, a focus on empathy and emotional intelligence can make you an attractive candidate for leadership positions. Employers recognize that empathetic leaders are more likely to foster a positive and supportive work environment, which leads to higher employee satisfaction and productivity.
4. Conflict Resolution and Problem-Solving
Bridge-builders are skilled in conflict resolution and problem-solving. These individuals have the ability to approach disputes with a collaborative mindset, seeking win-win solutions that benefit all parties involved. Their problem-solving skills enable them to address challenges effectively and find innovative solutions that promote cooperation and understanding.
On your resume, showcasing your conflict resolution and problem-solving abilities can make you stand out as a valuable asset to any organization. Employers seek candidates who can handle challenging situations with grace and contribute to creating a harmonious workplace.
5. Community Engagement and Social Responsibility
Engaging with the community and demonstrating social responsibility are essential aspects of bridge-building. Involvement in community projects and initiatives showcases your commitment to making a positive impact beyond the workplace. Such experiences can highlight your leadership skills, teamwork abilities, and passion for creating positive change.
Adding community engagement and social responsibility to your resume demonstrates your dedication to being a socially conscious and compassionate professional. Employers value candidates who not only excel in their roles but also actively contribute to the betterment of the workplace and want to leave a positive impact on society.
Overall, bridge-building skills offer a plethora of benefits to individuals both personally and professionally. By emphasizing these skills on your resume, you position yourself as a well-rounded candidate capable of fostering collaboration, embracing diversity, and promoting social cohesion. Employers recognize the value of individuals who can build bridges between people and cultures, making you a desirable candidate in an increasingly globalized and interconnected world.
The best place to get started is with BridgeUSA. Find a chapter near you or start one today, and start your leadership journey! As you enhance your resume with these invaluable skills, you open doors to exciting career opportunities and the chance to make a positive impact on society at large.