The job market has become highly competitive, and the best candidates are well-rounded in addition to having specialized skills. If you want to make yourself a desirable employee, there are some basics you should master to be useful in just about any environment. They can also help you to navigate job interviews, where first impressions are key. Consider taking classes or teaching yourself some of these valuable workplace traits.
One of the most important skills in the office, as well as life in general, is communication. This is a very broad term and can be broken down into many sub-categories, but effective communication can get you far. Learning how to clearly and succinctly share ideas can impact the outcome of a sales presentation, improve your public speaking, help to facilitate workflow with team members, make reporting to your boss a breeze or set you up to be a successful leader. Speaking one or two foreign languages couldn't hurt, either. In many workplaces this is even required. Depending on where you are located, Spanish, Chinese and Arabic are especially relevant.
Almost every company or institution handles data in some way. Data shapes decision making, predicts outcomes, analyzes efficiency and can show you in a tangible what is going on within the business. In addition to finances, it can tell you what your customers want or in which demographic a particular product does well. No matter what the company does, data management is a necessity. You should learn how to store, clean, organize and analyze big data in as many ways as possible. If you are able to make informed recommendations to your organization, you will become indispensable. Working with data in the cloud is especially popular, so familiarize yourself with how to navigate cloud storage, as well. There are many programs through which you can manipulate data, but learning some basics in Microsoft Excel, R Studio or Inzata is a good start.
Besides verbal communication, one other form of communication that is crucial in any type of workplace is writing. Whether you are writing emails, compiling reports, composing memos or publishing papers, nobody respects work that is full of typos and grammatically incorrect. Modern tools like spell-check and Grammarly can help a lot if you are lacking in this department, but you should also work at improving your writing on your own. Technical and scientific writing can be a good area to focus on, as creative or flowery writing is only suited to very specific careers, like that of a novelist. You can improve your writing by reading a lot, taking classes and practicing regularly. Finding someone to check your work in the early stages can be extremely helpful.
No business, institution or non-profit can exist without having an online presence. Knowing how to create, design and maintain websites will always be a skill that is in demand- which means you'll need to learn to code. There are many different skill levels and niches that exist within web development, so this also gives you some room to pick a path that is best suited for you. There is infinite room for growth and career development within web development, as well as potential for freelance and work-from-home opportunities. Coding will require more rigorous training than the other skills listed, but the payoff will also be more significant. Not only will it help your career, but many say it improves your critical thinking skills, as well. It is like learning a language of problem-solving.
It may seem overwhelming, or like your have to know everything, but you can focus on improving one thing at a time. You may have to dedicate yourself to continued education and constant training for technical skills like web development, but soft skills like effective communication are timeless and not easily forgotten. Many of these skills are handy for your personal life, as well. Now, go show the job market what an asset you are.