Are you looking to move up in your organization or move on to a better job? Improving your skill set will benefit you in both situations. There are many skills valued by managers, but which skills do they find most valuable?
Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder.com recently surveyed 3169 hiring managers. One of the results of this survey identified the skills hiring managers look for most often.
Most Desired Skills
Hiring managers often use electronic scanners to rank candidates using keywords to search resumes. The terms employers search for most often are:
- problem-solving and decision-making skills (50 percent)
- oral and written communications (44 percent)
- customer service or retention (34 percent)
- performance and productivity improvement (32 percent)
- leadership (30 percent)
- technology (27 percent)
- team-building (26 percent)
- project management (20 percent)
- bilingual (14 percent)
While the survey was not industry specific, the skills listed here are highly desired by IT departments. It is not surprising to see problem-solving skills at the top of the list. The ability to find a problem, analyze it, create potential solutions, pick a solution and implement the solution is part of everyday life in IT.
How to Boost Your Career
Regardless of your position, enhancing your skill set will give your career a boost. Here are some ways you can improve your skill set.
- Reading professional journals, books, web sites or blogs related to your industry or on your desired skill improvement. Reading and studying is tops on my list on ways to improve yourself.
- Taking classes and attending seminars in areas you need to improve on.
- Make yourself available to assist with projects or other tasks. Not only will you gain skills, but you will show your desire to improve and give yourself opportunities to network.
- Opportunities to develop leadership skills may not always available at work, but there are other ways to gain them. Look to your community for volunteer positions. Become involved in clubs, religious or non-profit organizations or coaching a sports team. Not only do these offer opportunities to build your leadership skills, they can be personally gratifying as well.
- Do not forget about your technical skills. Building these can qualify you for new positions and opportunities. While returning to classes or hitting the books again may be hard to balance with work and home, the benefits will make the short-term sacrifice worthwhile.
Other Desired Skills
While you may not think that some of these are skills, they are good tools to place in your career toolbox.
- Team Work – The ability to work with others on a combined task, make contributions to the task and share the responsibility of the outcome.
- Confidence – When you are assured of your own ability it shows you have the nerves to handle the tough situations that can arise. The last thing you want to start doing is second guessing yourself.
- Commitment – This is needed to see a project or task from start to finish. Showing that you are a hard worker and committed to your job and improving yourself shows you can take something on and finish it.
- Initiative – Being able to demonstrate that you can handle problems on your own and deal with them. Not waiting to be told what to do when you see a problem. If you can not solve it yourself go find someone who can. This is as valuable as being able to solve it on your own.
- Enthusiasm – You need to be able to not only motivate yourself, but motivate others as well. This is important in team building and leads to increased morale and productivity.
- Time Management – Your ability to prioritize several tasks and keep them running simultaneously (multitasking) is almost a requirement. Not only this, but being able to recognize and respond to changing priorities in order to meet deadlines.
Dedicate Yourself to Improvement
Improving your skill set should be part of your professional growth. If you are serious about improving yourself and your skills, dedicate at least 30 minutes per day or a couple of hours per week to developing new or existing skills.
Remember your career is in your hands. Promotions and new positions rarely fall into your lap. You must dedicate yourself to improving your professional and technical skills.