How to Enhance Your Career by Developing Skills
In a fast changing world, crisis, economic uncertainty and big unemployment, it’s very hard to find a job, especially if you’re in early days of your career. Online workplace offers new jobs that demand new skills, and next in-demand skill may not exist yet. So, question is how can you help yourself stand out?
One of the ways to position yourself for success is by developing skills. Next are five steps for developing useful, marketable skills:
1. Identify what skills would bring you an advantage.
This is not just for hard skills (technical skills like typing, writing, ability to use software programs), but for soft skills too (communication, listening and engaging, time management). You should identify what skills are valued in your desired field, today and in the future. Do the online research for what’s hot today and find where your field is headed.
2. Do an honest self-assessment of your current skills.
Critically look at your strengths and weaknesses and don’t overstate or cheat yourself about them. Just be honest at self-assessment, because it will cut out a lot of wasted time in your skill development.
3. Decide whether to focus on solidifying your strengths or improving your weaknesses.
Focusing on developing your strengths means that you’ll see results sooner than if you had spent your time on weaknesses. That way you’ll be successful faster and have more fun working. But if you know that you have weakness that could potentially hurt or limit your career, than your first priority should be resolving that weakness.
4. Put in the time hours to develop your skills.
This is the most important step. You can develop new skills or set existing ones by taking online education courses, conferences and webinars. There are plenty of free and paid resources. You should start from your core skills and develop neighbouring ones. A great way to test your skills is freelancing. That way, you’ll have opportunity to put your new tools to work for real, as well as develop useful experience in sales, client management, project management etc. If you do freelancing in online workplace, it will help you build track record you can showcase, as it captures a list of projects and your clients’ feedback on them.
5. Make sure to showcase your newly developed skill set.
If you have new skills, than you should show them to the public and your network. This is appropriate for pursuing new opportunities as well as building your personal brand. You should use major social media channels for showcasing your skills. For instance, if you are an expert in HTML you should show sites that you have created.
Dan Schawbel, author of a book „Promote Yourself: New Rules for Career Success“, acknowledges that the changing world of work can be anxiety-provoking, but it is actually an opportunity for professionals to set themselves apart. The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) estimated that by 2015, 60% of new jobs will require skills that only 20% of population currently has.
That should encourage you to think about developing new skills and setting your existing ones, and showcasing them to the public, which should help you in your career success.