Whether you’ve got a clear vision of the trajectory you want your career to take, or you’re still figuring out a direction, there are certain skills that are wise to cultivate, no matter what career you intend to embark upon. Obviously, some skills are specific to the career you’ll eventually enter, whether it be wiring a house if you want to become an electrician, or typing quickly if you want to become an administrative assistant.
Across every career, though, there are skills possessed by those who excel and advance that those who remain stagnant are lacking. Learn and cultivate these skills, and you’ll set yourself up for success in your chosen field.
Unless you plan on working from home as an independent contractor doing something that depends entirely on you, you’ll probably be working with a team of people, at least occasionally, in your new career. That’s why it’s so important to understand the value of teamwork in the workplace, and then work on cultivating team-building skills that will make you a likable and valuable part of a team. Skills such as compromise, listening, empathy, and patience are all important as you consider that most teams are made up of people with vastly different opinions about how to accomplish a task.
Not that you have to give up and be a “yes man or woman,” but being willing to let go of some of your priorities for the good of the team will make you a valuable asset to your co-workers and supervisors. If you are an introvert, first train yourself to get past the hump of keeping to yourself and not wanting to communicate with other people before you move on to the more specific aspects of team building.
Most businesses exist to solve some sort of problem. Not necessarily the type of problem where something unexpected has happened and needs to be addressed, though that is certainly an aspect of it. A problem as in, a customer has a need and is expecting the business to offer a solution to that need. You can see then, that no matter what types of problems your career intends to solve, you will be doing some sort of problem-solving on an almost daily basis.
One of the simplest ways to cultivate your problem-solving skills is learning how to step back from a situation and see it from the “30,000-foot view.” By taking care of yourself to ensure you are functioning at peak cognitive capacity, and stepping back to better view all sides of a situation, you will quickly become adept at efficiently solving problems as they arise. This skill is what workplace heroes are made of.
If your next career is going to be one you stick with for a while, you’ll probably want to move up within the organization to be able to have new opportunities and increase your compensation. If that’s true of you, cultivating leadership characteristics is a great way to get the ball rolling. These characteristics don’t include being bossy, grouchy, or inflexible, though, believe it or not.
In fact, being a good leader involves being empathetic to your subordinates, being able to inspire a group of people to catch a vision and work toward a common goal, and encouraging greater effort when deadlines are drawing near, without being overbearing or irrational. Many leadership characteristics can be built simply be being a good team player, so as you excel in your teamwork skills, your leadership skills will begin to shine through, as well.
No matter how far you advance in your career, and no matter how skilled you become in the business world, it’s important to keep all your advancement and accolades in perspective. One of the quickest ways to set yourself up for disaster is to live to work, instead of working to live. So long as you understand that the people, and not the promotions or the product, are what matter most, you will find yourself advancing while still maintaining a good work-life balance while making many lifelong friends in the process.
By: Meghan Belnap / Blogger, Researcher and Freelance Writer
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.