The Telegraph
Tuesday , August 30 , 2011
Since 1st March, 1999
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Skills You Need

if you are planning to excel or at least survive in today’s world you will need to transfer the skills you’ve been building through real life experience in school, on internships and at past jobs. These skills apply universally to all jobs across all industries and to all people. If someone were hiring a skills manager, the job posting would demand these requirements.

Communicate well

The ability to communicate effectively is an essential skill. It is much easier to communicate when you feel confident of what you are saying. And that comes with experience. If you aren’t a naturally confident person it would probably creep up on you.

Be a listener

An easy way to improve your communication skills is to be a good listener. That way you learn faster and reduce the risk of saying something stupid. A perfect forum to practise this is during a job interview. Try to give less-is-more interview answers.

Write well

You’ll also need to be able to communicate through various types of written media. It takes time to master the subtleties of chatting over messenger applications. So much of work happens through email, an indestructible paper trail capable of coming back to bite you on the backside. Be careful what you write and commit on record. The faster you can bang out the right communications, the more productively can you move onto your next task. You would also be more effective at negotiating, and your input would be absorbed in meetings much easily.

If you’re starting out your job search, communication skills would help you write your résumé properly. To gain confidence read at least one industry-specific résumé sample. Cover letters are even harder to craft from scratch because of all the personality you need to capture and convey. Read a few cover letter samples to help and inspire you.

Work hard...

How you value hard work and diligence is a good measure of your own work ethics. A university cannot prepare one for this reality. The discipline to perform would occur naturally if you make your work what you love to do.

...and party harder

Cultivating productive work relationships takes the right dose of friendliness. Keep a positive attitude towards your colleagues and general work environment. An easy way to preserve a good mood is to abstain from such negative activities as gossiping or office politicking. Friendships increase your access to outside knowledge, opinion and contacts. Show up to social functions and network. Eventually you would make a connection that would lead to a new job offer.

Research minutely

Internet search is mature and full of tools to help you mine information. It takes a whole subset of research skills, such things as speed, recognition and curiosity to provide business intelligence that would support your team’s ability to make sound critical decisions.

Be logical

Logic is an important skill and a key strength in both planning and problem solving. The by-product of logic is organisation. You need to be organised at work or no one would trust you enough to hand you more responsibility.

Crunch data

Number crunching and analytics is the “nicest” of the need-to-have skills, which makes it a huge asset rather than an absolute requirement. The ability to read and create reports and apply statistical measures could be very valuable, especially if your employer expects you to prove your work recoups the cost of your salary, a growing trend for bootstrapping companies to run tighter ships. You should be able to read a graph. Learn how to use Excel. It’s amazing what skills you can pick up for free online these days.

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