6 Skills to Learn to Improve Your Career Opportunities
The modern working world recognizes skills as a form of currency. It’s important not only to have the right skills but also to be as good as possible at them. That would make you extremely valuable as an employee, i.e. more attractive to potential employers.
The skills we’re talking about here are not those that are strictly related to a particular area of expertise. For example, a programmer might learn techniques for dozens of programming languages, but is that really enough to make them a desirable employee? Apparently not.
There are other skills that are actually much more general and that can serve as pillars for any individual in any position. Here are the most important ones:
Communication is vital for any type of business. Regardless of who you are, where you work, or what line of work you’re in, communication will be crucial to your ultimate success. It might involve giving information to a client, telling your needs to a supervisor, or collaborating with your peers.
The communication we’re referring to maybe phone-based, written, or face-to-face, and all types are equally important. The key is to say what you want to say concisely, accurately, and appropriately, and try to maximize the effectiveness of your messages by choosing the proper mediums for them.
Organization and management
Every job comes with a range of responsibilities that need to be managed and executed properly. Unless you’re well organized, you won’t be able to get to work on time, prioritize your tasks effectively and find solutions to problems before they even become problems. Also, management skills are quite handy in any position.
Regardless of your job, you need to manage your resources, time, and workload successfully. Without organization and management skills, even the most capable workers often fall behind or make critical mistakes.
Another skill that is rather useful in every workplace is negotiation. You need to be confident and persuasive in order to negotiate successfully and you should start showing this skill as early as at your job interview. Being a successful negotiator can help you secure a higher salary or more competitive benefits. Also, it can help you land new clients or strike deals with potential partners.
Finally, you’ll eventually find yourself in a position where you need last-minute help or lower the total costs of operation and without this skill, you probably won’t get what you need.
Once you hone this skill, you can work on improving your knowledge of foreign languages and take up French lessons, for example, to widen the scope of your options when it comes to finding a job or securing new clients.
This process of problem-solving allows you to identify and address potential weaknesses or fault points in almost any given environment. Possessing this skill will help you find more creative solutions, assess negative situations quickly, and recognize patterns in large systems.
Critical thinkers can acknowledge, analyze and solve problems without much, if any, outside influence and they are always looking for improvements to add to the system.
Teamwork and delegation
You may think that your job doesn’t include relying on others and you may be right, but only up to a point. Namely, there is always some level of teamwork that has to be managed in the workplace.
At first, it could be collaborating with your supervisors and some colleagues, but you might find yourself soon in a position to delegate work to your subordinates.
That’s why knowing how to work with others effectively and how to play to an individual’s strengths is a key skill for success in this area. Those who work well in groups contribute significantly to collective performance, which makes them desirable employees (or employers, for that matter). Basically, without teamwork skills, you'll end up slowing the operation down.
Research and analysis
Finally, one more skill is needed for almost every conceivable position. Being able to research and analyze campaigns for possible effectiveness, for example, is vital for marketers.
On the other hand, engineers should be able to research and analyze potential technologies, while personal assistants should be able to do the same when it comes to travel plans.
Most of us need to find information fast, review it and recognize key patterns on a daily basis, which is why this skill must not be overlooked.
It goes without saying that some of these skills develop naturally over time as you gain work experience. However, for the most part, you need to seek, acquire and hone them. If you improve each of these individual areas, you’ll actually maximize your chances of getting employment and succeeding in your position.