When you are job hunting there are several skills that pop up over and over again. Why is that? Well, it’s because these skills tend to be the most essential ways to benefit any organization. And being an asset is essential to being a great employee. In fact, these skills are important to business owners and entrepreneurs also!
I have listed the most common skills that pop up on almost every job description and how to improve them.
Excellent communication skills
When you are job hunting I’ll bet that “excellent communication skills” is pretty much listed on almost every job description. Why? Because being able to communicate with your boss, co-worker or customer is an important part of being successful in any job. You may think that’s a given, but there are so many people that don’t understand how you need these skills in abundance to be successful. If you are not a natural in communicating with people then learning that skill is something you should focus on.
And one way you can improve how you speak and, more importantly, listen during a professional conversation, is by attending networking meetings in your area. Most networking groups, like BNI, provide education and an emphasis on how to handle yourself when talking to a possible client or someone that wants to refer clients to you. They also expect you to have your “elevator pitch” — a short 30 second explanation of what you do and where you can provide benefits — ready at a moments notice. Not to mention that you will be talking to people in person, so you can improve your face-to-face skills at the same time.
Toastmasters International is a public speaking organization that can help you hone in on the presentation speaking skills. There is usually one or more in every city and they provide a list of progressive type speeches that add new skills to every speech you give.
Organizational skills and the ability to handle many tasks at once
Another hot job skill is the ability to multi-task with a high level of organizational skills. Especially with positions at start-ups, a favorite among Millennial workers, they want people that can juggle lots of tasks in one given day. Since they don’t truly know how your job will morph with the growth of the business, they want someone that can flourish in a fast moving environment. And, organizational skills are essential if you are being pulled in many directions everyday.
So, how do you learn better organizational skills? Put in place the following actions everyday and you will harness this skill.
- Make a “to do” list for tomorrow and use it to prepare ahead of time
- Use meeting invitations for meetings with others and also yourself as a reminder
- Have an easy to keep filing system online and in your office
- Set aside certain hours in the day for uninterrupted work, and get up early! Yes, getting up earlier, is a great way to add more hours to your day. And, use that extra time to figure out when your peak brain hours are and schedule that time for the most difficult or highly creative tasks.
Solution vs problem orientation skills
Are you a person that likes to point out problems at work but don’t provide any solutions? Or are you the person that figures out a solution prior to pointing out the problem to your boss?
Most companies want people that can take the time to find constructive ideas to solve a problem prior to pointing it out. Looking at a problem as an opportunity that just needs the right solution, is a great attitude and asset to any company. How do you adjust yourself to focus on this mindset everyday?
Take time, before complaining about a problem at work, to review what the issue is and how you would change it while providing a benefit of some kind. Just taking a day or two thinking about the issue before blurting out a complaint is a great way to evaluate your approach. Think before you talk — a tried and true philosophy that probably first came from someone’s Mom.
Ability to work with others in a team environment
Whether you are part of a team at a company or creating one at your own company, being able to play nice in the sand box is one of those essential skills for any job. You need to be able to listen to others and then be confident to voice your opinions in a team environment. Being a team player means you reach out to others when needed and reciprocate by sharing knowledge. You are quick to compliment and provide constructive ideas when collaborating.
I like to call teams “eco systems” since it is usually a group of people with a common goal that need to interact successfully. Make yourself listen more, value everyone’s opinion, and feel confident when you are called upon for input every time you are in a team environment. Another way to make improvements is to ask your team members to provide feedback on whether you are an active and helpful member of the team. Don’t be afraid to hear negative feedback because it will only allow you to adjust your actions and become a better team member going forward.
When applying for a new job, remember that these skills are essential building blocks for any position, and practicing them everyday will put you in the best possible place when walking into the interview. Each job has specific competencies but having these essential items in your “front” pocket puts your best foot forward. Good luck hunting for your dream job!