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6 Skills to Boost Your Career Prospects This Year

As a new year gets underway, you might be trying to figure out how you can improve your career prospects. Whether you plan to ask for a promotion, or whether you are looking for a new job, it’s vital that you develop marketable skills.

You might be surprised at some of the skills that are becoming more important as a way to help your career [3].

It’s All about the Soft Skills

These days, your career is all about the soft skills. While hard skills matter, especially in some jobs like computer programming, it’s the soft skills that will really help you move to the next level.

If you want a better job, enjoying the perks of management, you will need to develop the soft skills that are a little less easy to define. For the most part, you can’t get a certification for the types of skills that will boost your career prospects in the coming year. Instead, you have to show them through career networking [4], and while on the job:

  1. Communications: How well do you communicate? If you want a good job in the new economy, you need to be able to express yourself well. This includes in written form as well as in spoken form. From making presentations, to writing compelling ad copy, the way you communicate matters. Brush up on your communication skills, and you’ll have a better chance at a better career.
  2. Active listening: Not only can you help others feel more important, but you can also get a feel for the political currents in your office. Active listening allows you to understand what is being said, and it also helps you ask intelligent questions, and ensures that you follow instructions properly.
  3. Critical thinking: Being able to carefully think through various solutions is increasingly important in today’s workplace. Not only do you need to be able to logically consider your options, but you also need to be able to think outside the box. Few decisions are either-or.
  4. Problem solving: This is related to critical thinking. You need to be able to identify the various solutions available, and find ways to solve problems. This also includes complex problem solving and creative problem solving. Someone who can identify issues and help solve them in a meaningful way will be in demand for positions of influence and receive promotions.
  5. Monitoring: Are you aware of your own failings and setbacks? You need to be able to see problems arising in others, but also be able to assess your own performance honestly. If you can monitor yourself and others, and encourage corrective action, you will find that you are in demand.
  6. Leadership: Do you have leadership qualities? If you can encourage others to follow your lead, you can find yourself with promotions. Inspiring good morale and helping others perform to their best ability are ways that leaders can help their companies — and their careers.

As you prepare for another year, take the time to evaluate your skill set. Think about how you can improve your soft skills, and prepare yourself to take advantage of new career opportunities in a new year.

(Photo: Aidan Jones [5])