Its an exciting time in the world. The Digital Age moves at a faster rate than ever before providing more opportunities to live a fabulous life. The key is staying current with technology and mastering portable skills to take to any job and/or career. This one move can put you well ahead of your competition.
Previous generations would get an education, get a job, stay with the one company and retire from the one company. It was simple. The company took care of you (with job security and a pension) and you took care of the company. A win-win.
Today, that is no longer the case, with the average person changing jobs about 12 times in their life and staying for an average of 4 years per job. Not only are people changing jobs at a faster rate but moving to whole new careers as many as 5-7 in a lifetime.
Why the shift?
Most companies have dropped pensions and are no longer loyal to employees. When a company hits hard times, more often than not, layoffs happen. Employees no longer trust companies to take care of them. Pensions are becoming a thing of the past.
The Good News.
Today leaving a job provides opportunities for financial as well as career growth. Many people switch jobs to get a less stressful one or gain a more work/life balance. Others change careers to better align with their own belief systems. Most hiring managers don’t even bat an eye when they see different job types or even down time between employments. How awesome is that? To have the opportunity to change careers for whatever reason may not be a fairly recent concept but today it’s made easier and more acceptable than ever before.
Setting Up for Success.
So the question is, how do we set ourselves up to be successful in this new economic structure? Focusing on portable skills is key to an easy transition to another job or career. Here are the 5 most important portable skills needed to make it relatively painless.
“I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.” – Albert Einstein
In this digital age, people with strong communication skills are becoming more and more difficult to find. Social media has made it easier than ever to be, well, less social. Knowing how to articulate your thoughts and ideas in a way that motivates and inspires people to take action is a critical skill set. It’s so important that without this one skill the next 4 will be difficult to obtain.
“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” – James Humes
I am not talking about government office or even management roles. Being a leader can be accomplished from any job within a company, industry or movement. Hand in hand with communication, leading people means inspiring them to follow you and take action in support of a common goal. In contract, managing people is to guide them in their work priorities and provide annual reviews on their quality of work. Just because one has the title of being a manager does not automatically mean they are a leader.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin
Being able to teach others is more than being able to communicate an idea or process. It’s the ability to explain it in such a way that a person can take that knowledge and apply it effectively with minimal or no support. Teaching demonstrates that you have a solid grasp of knowledge and are able to share that knowledge with others so they can grow and be better employees.
“Stay committed to your decisions but stay flexible in your approach.” – Tony Robbins
Being adaptable and flexible is key to staying current and will make it easier to change and grow. Change is constant, now more than ever. Even if you never change careers, it’s still important to be flexible. You may not want change but change may want you.
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence with championships.” – Michael Jordan
Plain and simple, team work is the ability to work with others to reach a common goal or complete a task that is greater than one person. Cooperating and supporting team mates through communication and follow through builds trust and strong bonds within the team.
Mastering these 5 skills will lead you to the opportunities you are most interested in.
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to be perfect at any of these skills. In truth, it will take years of practice to master them. What’s important is that you already have some of these soft skills at some level and can demonstrate that you do. Revealing specific examples of these skills must be done throughout your resume (posted on LinkedIn), cover letter, thank you note, job interview, etc. If you don’t advertise that you have these skills, no one will ever know.
Think of yourself as a product you are tasked to market to others.
Beware of social media, it can be your friend and your foe. Employers not only call references but will check your social media presence. Every company knows that their employees are a reflection of their own company. No company will sacrifice their reputation for one employee.
Go out and conquer! A brave new world is awaiting you!