"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," wrote Charles Dickens in his notable book Tales of Two Cities. One wonders if his statement was somehow a euphorism for today's economic environment.
We are, and have been, living through a challenging period and this is more true in the business world. But employees should not despair. As companies continue to change strategies to cope during this uncertainty, they can take this opportunity to build their professional portfolio and remain competitive.
Here are four job skills to hone to prepare for the 2013 workplace:
1. Improve your communication skills. We are a tech-driven society and many interactions are occuring through the plethora of technological and social platforms available. There's emails, webcasts, text messaging, chat rooms, you name it. This communication process is interferring with employees' abilities to interact on a personal level. Know the rules of one-on-one engagement, practice your writing skills beyond the limited characters we have come to associate with today's communication standards, and remember basic presentation guidelines.
2. Market yourself. Take advantage of social networking sites such as Twitter and Linkedin to stay marketable especially if you're job searching. More head hunters are now relying on internet searches to understand applicants better. And remember, don't badmouth current employers or colleagues. It makes you look bad.
3. Stay abreast of the changing workforce. Technology makes the workplace change at a dizzying pace. It's important to stay flexible and be mentally prepared for plenty of change. Adaptation is key here and, according to one know-it-all, is possible by challenging yourselves out of your comfort zone. So go ahead and take that intimidating course, learn a new skill that's beyond your basic knowledge.
4. Learn to be productive. A new survey shows that managers are expecting a 20 percent increase in productivity levels in the upcoming year. With the economy the way it is, managers are expected to perform more with less resources. And if you want to remain employed, it's a good idea to take on those extra projects. Also, managers are impressed by self-starters, those who take the initiative without instruction.
So, there you have it, four important skills to prepare you for future uncertainty. And now I'm off to work.
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