Let’s face it: gone are the days when employees specialized in a certain area and stuck with that – in a single industry – for their entire careers. But unfortunately, many of us haven’t been trained in more than one area. Maybe you are coding whiz but you know nothing about finance. Maybe you’re great with data but really haven’t ever perfected the art of grammar and spelling. It can be tough to hone a new skill if you’ve been out of school for a while, but, if you’re looking to advance your career, adding even one of these 7 skills to your arsenal may be just the extra something you need to get your next position.
Plenty of you probably cringed just reading the word “coding.” But we’re not suggesting that you suddenly become fluent in Java or one of the other more common programming languages. If you can even learn a little bit about coding – how to talk the talk and, especially, how to conceptualize software creation – you can become a key player in your organization. That’s because many coders only code and most people who don’t code, know nothing about it. And that means communication between the two groups can be fraught with difficulty. If you can learn enough about coding to communicate your ideas effectively (and translate other people’s ideas into coding-friendly language), you’ll quickly become indispensible.
2. Data Modeling
Along with coding, data modeling is a skill that is in high demand. Before a new piece of software is created, the designers map out how it’s going to work. They will lay out the process in an easily understood diagram, using text and symbols, to show how the software will work. The ability to not only think through this process but to create a visual that even people without a background in software development can understand his a highly desirable skill, especially if you already know how to do the coding to make the software.
3. Contract Negotiation
Knowing what you want is one thing; getting it is another. If you are interested in executive level positions, knowing how to negotiate contracts is a must-have skill and don’t be mistaken: it is truly an art. There are probably hundreds of books written on this topic and plenty of seminars – both online and in person – that you can take to learn the basics. But nothing teaches you to negotiate like shadowing a pro. If you work in a business where someone else handles contract negotiations, talk to them about it and see if there is a possibility that you can observe them at work. If you seem interested and capable, you may be given a chance to take part in the process eventually and earn your own negotiating stripes.
4. Financial Analysis
If you already work with numbers – say in accounting or human resources – learning to look at the big picture and make recommendations based on that big picture is an invaluable skill that will take your career to the next level. Financial analysis can be quite technical and generally requires knowledge of the industry you are analyzing. But, if you already have a background in working with budgets, being able to analyze them is simply the next logical step.
5. Search Engine Marketing
Can you create beautiful websites with glowing color schemes, rich graphics, and flowing, easy to absorb content? Or maybe you are an expert with backend design. Those skills are quite marketable. But unless you or someone on your team knows how to make sure people are finding your perfect websites, all your work will be for naught. Learning how to increase the visibility of website on the internet is a highly valued skill and not the most difficult thing to learn, if you put in a little time.
6. Strategic Planning
If you’d like to be in management one day, learn more about strategic planning today. Strategic planning is the ultimate in “big thinking”: where is your organization going and how is it going to get there? In addition to knowing how to discuss strategic planning, being able to actually create a strategic plan will put you in the right position for a management post. Take courses online or at a local B-school and practice this skill until you discuss strategic planning confidently in an interview or with your colleagues.
7. Writing / Editing
Yes, language evolves. Many official sources now accept “they” as a gender-neutral singular pronoun. Some grammar fiends even agree that ending sentences with a preposition really isn’t that big of a deal anymore. But if u rite emails to ppl like this, no1 is gonna take u all that srsly. Just because you can read and write doesn’t mean you’re good at it. But you can be. The best way to learn better grammar and syntax is to read and to write, whenever you can, and to edit your writing and other people’s writing. No matter what industry you are in, improving your writing skills will make you look more professional, more polished, and more attentive to details. And details matter when you’re up for a new position, a raise, or a promotion.
If this list seems daunting, it shouldn’t. You only have to pick one of these skills to improve today to increase your value ten-fold tomorrow. Pick the one that you’re most interested in or the one that’s closest to the skills you already possess. Or, pick the one that will get you one step closer to where you want to be. When it comes time to make your move, get in touch with us and we’ll help you make sure you highlight both your current and new skills in a way that will get you your next position.