In an ever-changing workforce, you need to stay ahead of the curve and keep your skills and knowledge fresh if you want to continue moving onward and upward. Here are three skills worth sharpening to help you do just that.
Network – In person and online
Networking is an increasingly important investment of your time because it puts your name, your face or your brand in front of other people in the industry, whether face-to-face or online. These connections pay off, both directly and indirectly. To fully reap the benefits of networking, get involved in professional organizations, keep up with what is going on in your industry, attend seminars and connect with people at events. Aim to be on top of what is going on and look for opportunities to trade thoughts and ideas with your new contacts.
Online social networks have made it easy to connect with industry peers and prospective employers. You don’t have to be a social media expert to succeed in the workplace today, but having a working knowledge of sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn is important for connecting with clients, promoting your brand and staying up-to-date on industry trends. It’s OK to have personal Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts as well, but be aware that prospective and current employers might be monitoring your cyber presence. Try to clean up any questionable or embarrassing online activities and make your profiles consistent and professional. LinkedIn is a great career-centered site for promoting yourself without worrying about having to cross the line between social and professional spheres.
Stay flexible and adaptable
Today’s employers value workers who can be flexible and versatile. You need to know how to solve problems in areas where you are not an expert and be able to accept changing priorities in a job. A way to show adaptability is to take constructive criticism seriously and use that feedback to improve your productivity and performance. Also, if you learn to be accepting of diverse views, you will be more likely to get along with co-workers and have an all-around positive work experience.
With so many people getting college degrees, the job market is saturated with well-educated individuals. To stand out on such an even playing field, show initiative and embrace emerging trends in your industry. A couple ways to do this include: volunteering for other opportunities or roles; serving on a team outside your immediate area; and signing up for relevant seminars/webinars. Providing thoughtful ideas and suggestions in one-on-one or team meetings also will prove that you are always thinking of ways to help your employer succeed.
It is never too late to start honing any of these skills. If you do, you will soon see firsthand the number of opportunities that will come your way as you can more easily reach the next rung on the corporate ladder.