Ten Career Skills to Keep You Employable in the 21st Century
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Ten Career Skills to Keep You Employable in the 21st Century
by: Karla Brandau
Most people drive through life looking in their rearview mirror and judging
the future by the past. They have a really good view of where they have been and
mistakenly think the future will be similar to the past as they make decisions
based on their previous experiences. Even though past experience gives a base
for the future, there are many employability factors to take into account as you
plan to grab one of the best jobs in 2010 and beyond.
The future work world will be even more global. If your job is not one that
requires you to physically be in one place, i.e. serving food, washing windows
and stocking grocery shelves, you will be competing with bright and hungry
workers in India, China, Korea and other developing nations around the globe.
Competing in the new environment will require higher levels of competence and
necessitate looking straight ahead, not constantly glancing rearview mirror for
warm fuzzy feelings about what you have achieved in the past.
Here are 10 skills to acquire and refine that will increase your professional
confidence level and make you more employable in the 21st Century:
- Constantly adapt to technology. Dependency on technology in the
future will increase, not decrease. Spend time learning new computer programs
but more importantly, make applications to your daily routine and strive to
use technology as an enabler of productivity, not as a neat new toy with tons
of cute features that you don’t use. To decide if the new gadget is worth the
time, ask yourself, “Does this make time or waste time?”
- Embrace diversity. Get comfortable with other ethnic cultures,
religions and customs. Be curious about what makes people from other cultures
tick. Learn a little about the customs and attitudes that belong to workers
from other countries. The time will be well spent as you begin to relate human
to human, not human to inhabitant of another country.
- Be a life-long learner. When you finished your last college course
did you utter a sigh of relief and mumble something like, “Whew, glad I’m
finished with my education!” Surprise…the new century will require you to be a
continuous learner. Be prepared to reinvent yourself, the pool of information
in your brain and your work-related skills every 4-5 years.
- Practice impeccable integrity. Employers need to feel your spirit
and have the quiet assurance that you are honest. Even one person in an
organization who takes advantage of company assets for personal gain causes
untold rules and regulations. Taking integrity beyond just simple honesty,
however, means that when you commit to a deadline, you are fully committed to
producing results, not excuses.
- Be a self-starter. Fire yourself up or look forward to being the
first to go when bottom lines dip into the red, a recession lurks around the
corner or the next merger takes place. Those who learn to work on the
optimistic side of life not the pessimistic side of life, are more valuable to
the organization as they create a positive work environment that produces
- Demonstrate personal discipline. Employers want to hire people who
have disciplined work habits and disciplined thinking. The more disciplined
the worker, the less time managers must spend rethinking, retracing and
reworking…basically worrying if you will be reliable. When you demonstrate
personal discipline, you and your manager can spend more time on solving
problems and moving the company forward.
- Prioritize and evaluate daily. Two of the biggest time wasters in
the world are not knowing where to start when you get to work in the morning
and working on low priority items. To compete in the global work environment
takes meticulous prioritization of tasks and the ability to identify the
highest priority item that you tackle first every morning.
- Be adaptable. To stave off obsolescence, organizations must
constantly change and regularly introduce change initiatives. Often employee
resistance derails plans for updating processes and procedures and stalls
company progress. To increase employability in 2010, learn to be part of the
solution, not part of the problem. Ask tough questions that define the future
and actively look for ways to support the new change initiatives.
- Think creatively and innovatively. Contributing to your
organization in 2010 demands thinking outside of the box and looking for
creative ways to solve nagging problems, increase productivity or produce a
new product or service. When a challenge presents itself, be the first to
offer a new viewpoint, discover an alternative or recommend another course of
action. Your ideas combined with the creative ideas from other employees will
help your organization renew itself as necessary to be competitive in the 21st
- Have the Can-Do attitude. Immerse yourself in all the available
positive mental attitude material you can find. Negatives are thrown at you
the entire day from the news, next door neighbors and the nerd in the next
cubicle. Teams face hurdles to productivity which causes dissention among
members. Management faces stockholder dissatisfaction and product deadlines.
To compound the problem, your mind naturally generates negative thoughts
before positive thoughts. You have to train your mind to see the positive, to
find the positive and to see the opportunity lurking in the obstacle. If you
can master the positive can-do attitude, you will add value to every thing you
touch and be more employable in an increasing negative world.
Some of these skills will be relatively simple and others may be difficult
for you to implement. As you improve in each area mentioned above, however, you
will increase in confidence and competence and create an environment where you
add value to the organization and a need for your personal services. You will
have greater job stability.
About Karla Brandau Karla Brandau, CSP, is an expert in change, leadership
and team building in the flat world. She offers keynotes and workshops to
improve personal and organizational competence. Sign up for her Competence
newsletter and download free articles by going to
www.KarlaBrandau.com. Contact Karla at
770-923-0883 for a free consultation on change initiatives or to check the
availability of dates to bring Karla to your organization.
Contributor: Karla Brandau
Published here on:
Classification: Change, career
Ten career skills to keep you employable in the 21st Century