Throughout our lives, most of us will change jobs several times, often making sideways shifts into completely unrelated roles from the ones we might have studied for at university. Indeed, in today’s ever-changing world, most industry experts suggest we’ll need to be more adaptable than ever and be ready to take on multiple occupations, often in multiple sectors.
With an increase of automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace, it’s now extremely important for workers to have a wide and versatile skill-base, to remain competitive in the employment market and stay one step ahead. Here is a list of eight personal skills you could look at developing to improve your chances of finding the perfect job or attaining that much-desired promotion in your current profession.
Communication skills are essential for all areas of life, not just business. Being a good communicator is a two-way street and involves listening to the views of others as much as expressing your own. Moreover, communication is both verbal and written so you will need to develop your writing skills as much as your ability to put forward your points orally. Also, being an effective communicator means you can be clear, focused and concise in your delivery, sticking to the point and tailoring your message to distinct audiences. Remember too that listening to others is vital if you’re to properly digest the salient points of a discussion and formulate your own informed opinions and input to group conversations.
It’s worth remembering, many years ago your boss likely started out just like you – fresh-faced and rather inexperienced. However, all good managers and business owners like and respect staff members who have a firm grasp of how their firm works and the aims and aspirations of their business. If you can demonstrate you have a keen understanding of how business and industry work in general, you will go a long way to instilling trust in your superiors.
It’s also worth taking the time to study a particular company in depth to get an understanding of its sector and help identify potential market opportunities, perhaps not picked up by other employees.
Pretty much every job these days involves working to at least some degree with computers and technology, so you would be well-advised to develop your computing and software skills. Many professions rely extensively on particular software packages (e.g. web page development jobs and Adobe Dreamweaver/Photoshop), so do some research and find out the skills you’ll need.
If you want to get an all-round basis in computing, you could do a lot worse than study an online masters in data science – a course that you could complete in your own time, outside work while still holding down your job. Also, the skills taught in data science will considerably improve your analytical abilities, making you much more attractive to employers and more likely for promotion.
Also, with the continued growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace, a data science qualification will make you an invaluable addition to any company that uses computers in its operations.
Teamwork is an essential part of almost all jobs and showing you can build and maintain positive working relationships will massively increase your chances of employment or promotion in an existing role.
The saying, “No man is an island,” is as important in business as it is in everyday life and networking is an essential part of climbing the career ladder. Good teamwork involves showing you have the sense of responsibility to take on – and successfully complete – tasks and challenges through a fine mix of leadership, delegation and hard work.
Even if you’re just starting out at the bottom of the career ladder, showing that you have the skills to work as a leader and inspire confidence and dedication in others will help you massively throughout your career. While you might not think leadership comes naturally to you, you should still try to develop and hone your skills for getting the best from other, equally-positioned team members as you work. By doing so, most people soon find they have abilities far beyond their expectations and naturally start to fall into the roles of tutor and mentor. Setting a good example, learning to delegate and sticking to deadlines are all essential components in good leaders.
Working effectively and efficiently is a desired trait in all employees, no matter the particular job or role they’re performing. If you can show an ability to prioritize your time effectively and work closely to deadlines while still maintaining consistently high results, you’ll soon jump up the ladder in your organization.
Again, even if you’re just starting out and at the interview stage, be sure to state your talents for organizing and sorting tasks by priority. These skills will go a long way to making you a much more desirable prospect for employment.
Life rarely goes to plan and even the most perfectly-planned project frequently hits setbacks and challenges. Business owners and bosses know this only too well and are always on the look-out for determined staff to show perseverance through the darker times and still attain their goals, if possible, with a smile and without getting overly stressed.
Showing that you can work your way through the bad moments and still come out the other side are hugely admirable qualities and are greatly valued by managers and bosses looking to build a dependable team.
There’s a fine balance between confidence and cockiness – but showing that you’re a capable, confident and assured member of staff will instill faith in colleagues and bosses alike. If you’re new to a job, it can often be quite difficult to maintain a sense of confidence but, rest assured, with just a little time in a role, your confidence will grow.
Just remember to always be aware of tipping the balance a little too far into arrogance or cockiness. As a general guide, confidence will most often come naturally whereas arrogance frequently feels more forced. Keep a level head and strike the balance for the best results.
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