A better you in 2013
JOB SKILLS: It’s a new year, traditionally the time for taking stock and planning the months ahead. Career experts say that the start of the year is also the right time to examine your current job and to think seriously about the skills you need to get ahead.
At the top of the list is good communication. “This is really the ability to clearly articulate your point of view and the ability to create a connection through communication,” explains Holly Paul, head of US recruiting at the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. Communication skills are especially important for people who are looking for jobs, Paul told The Wall Street Journal.
Clear communication also includes written messages, says Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half International in California. “Technology in some ways has taken away our ability to write well. People are in such a hurry that they are multitasking,” McDonald points out. Don’t be so rushed that you forget to proofread emails and check for spelling mistakes, he warns.
Think about your personal brand, advises Peter Handal, CEO of Dale Carnegie Training. This means paying close attention to the information you post on networking sites such as LinkedIn, blogs or Twitter. “That’s your brand. That’s how you represent yourself,” Handal says. “If you post something that comes back to haunt you, people will see that.”
Don’t forget that your employer or potential future employers could see unflattering and unprofessional information on your personal Facebook page. Executive coach Meredith Haberfeld says one of her clients recently read an employee’s post about eating Chinese food while smoking marijuana. “I saw it on Facebook. Her supervisors saw it,” Haberfeld comments.
"I saw it on Facebook. Her supervisors saw it." Meredith Haberfeld
It’s important to be flexible and to show willingness to learn new skills, says George Broué of real-estate services company Stiles in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “We want to know that if we roll out a new programme or new tools that the folks we have on board are going to be open to learning.”
You should also be looking for ways to increase productivity at your company, Paul McDonald says. “When you are at your job, do you volunteer for projects? Are you looking for creative ways to help your organization?” he asks. “The way to really differentiate yourself is to be proactive.”