It’s a competitive world and technology challenges your daily norm. So how do we keep our skills relevant and remain competitive? Commit yourself to learn something new. Get outside of your comfort zone and expand your knowledge.
This could take the form of daily readings from groups or associations you’ve joined through LinkedIn or daily searches on new topics of interest that may or may not be relevant to your current career.
One of the most important skills to have is communication. Whether it’s verbal or written, developing your communication skills is essential to progressing through your chosen career path.
Get outside of your comfort zone and expand your knowledge
Here are some ideas on how to improve your communication skills that can add value to your career and can also be personally rewarding:
Learn Another Language
With the trend towards globalization, more and more jobs are seeking candidates with second or third languages. If your company has offices in other parts of the world, learn the basics of the language spoken there so that if an opportunity arises where you may be transferred or promoted to another region, you will be able to assimilate easily knowing the language and culture. It is always an asset to have another language but hopefully you choose one that is spoken throughout the world.
Sign up for a Presentation Workshop
Look at joining a local toastmasters program to improve your presentation skills. If part of your job is to present ideas, plans and strategies and you know you can benefit from polishing your skills, look at joining some workshops. Sometimes you may not always get the feedback you want and need from your colleagues or boss at work so attending a workshop
Improve your Writing Skills
If writing is not your strength, register for a one day or weekend course to learn the basics in writing. Learn how to put together an outline that communicates a consistent and coherent theme. Improve your grammar and develop a style and voice in your writing. Perhaps you can even start a blog on a topic that interests you.
Build your Social Skills through Volunteering
If your interpersonal skills need work, volunteer at non-profit organizations. You’ll meet new people, develop new skills and learn about a worthy cause. It will not only exercise your social skills but you will find it to be personally rewarding. Search for organizations or causes that have meaning to you. For example, you could look at volunteering at organizations that focus on breast cancer, heart disease or autism who host fundraising events or marathons throughout the year and rely on a large volunteer base. Volunteering is also a great asset to have on your resume and demonstrates your contribution to the community.
Learn to Use Social Media
Connect with your social circles, colleagues or other like-minded people throughout the world through social media. Use Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to monitor trends and discussions happening around the world in real time. Strengthen your community connections or contribute to discussions and share your insights on topics of your expertise. Social media allows you to increase your influence, build your profile and personal brand. Make sure you follow credible news sources or influencers with an established reputation so you get the real story and facts.
Whether you are working independently as an individual contributor, collaborating with a team or managing a team at your current job, communication is so key to your success. Some of the above tips are not meant for you to tackle all at once but they are simply ideas for you to build on in your current role. When you create more value for yourself as an employee, you are less dispensable, more personable and more likely to get promoted.
As you know, life is easier as a single parent when you make more money and this can only be possible if you have more marketable skills.