In today’s competitive business climate, it isn’t enough to be competent, you want to stand out. To complete your tasks, you will likely need to be comfortable working with ever-changing technology. Of course, if you want to step up your game, you can make it a point to be an expert in some skill areas. Becoming the go-to person in your department can be a boost to your career. Many of the skills you need to work confidently you may have picked up in college. If you do not have your degree, taking the time to earn it is the first step toward leveling up your business career.
It is possible to get a job without a degree, and you can often move up in the company by proving yourself, but that may not translate if you want to move to a different company. It is almost certain that you will not earn as much as your coworkers if you do not have a degree. Fortunately, it has never been easier to earn a degree while maintaining your career. With the flexibility of online classes, you can continue to work while working on your degree. It is normal to worry about finances in situations like this. Using a student loan calculator from Earnest.com allows you to determine how much aid you will qualify for. You can then use private student loans to cover the balance. Aside from earning your degree, you may wonder what skills you should work on to help take your career to the next level.
If you work in the finance sector, you probably understand the importance of working with spreadsheets. However, spreadsheets are widely used for a variety of tasks, and knowing how to create and utilize them can save you a great deal of time. If you are comfortable with the basics, work on refining your skills. Spreadsheets are a great way to store, organize, and make sense of data. You need to have more than rudimentary skills to harness the power of this tool. Working with spreadsheets is not complicated, and you will quickly pick up the skills you need to do the tasks you use most often, but digging deeper can create many opportunities in your company. As tempting as it is to just use enough to get by, you can count on others doing the same as well. Becoming efficient in creating pivot tables, writing queries and macros, and creating appealing visualizations allows you to stand out and add value in a discernible way.
Polish Communication Skills
In-person communication skills are important in every work environment, but it isn’t the only form of communication. Having strong email communication skills can make everyone’s life easier. The ability to communicate through email allows you to get your point across, and the person on the receiving end will not have to work through what you mean and follow up with additional questions.
The easiest way to know if your email skills are solid is to consider the reaction you get from them. Sometimes the person who receives your email may be rushed and misread or misunderstand what you write, but if it is a normal occurrence, the problem is probably with you. Improving your email communication skills isn’t difficult, but it does require some dedication on your part. It is tempting to fire off an email quickly if you consider the matter simple or straightforward. Understand that the person on the receiving end does not have the same context as you. Before you hit send, take a second to reread the email and make sure that it makes sense. Also, consider whether it would be easier to pick up the phone and call the recipient. Often the ability to engage in back and forth conversation makes a phone call a much quicker way to get results.
Presentation Skills are Important
Whether you are routinely tasked with making presentations, or they happen very rarely, making sure that you feel comfortable doing so can be a real boost to your career. It is normal to feel uncomfortable if you are not used to standing in front of others and presenting, but that is no excuse to avoid it. Having solid presentation skills can open doors for you to represent your company at conferences and other career-building opportunities.
Of course, standing up in front of others is only one part of a presentation. To put together a successful program, you will spend much more time researching, writing, and putting everything together than you will presenting your work. It can be tempting to rush this process, particularly if it is on a subject you are very familiar with. Doing so is a mistake. Your listeners will sense that the presentation is only surface level. Spend time creating a program that introduces new and compelling information, creates interesting visuals, and practice the presentation until you are comfortable.
Never Stop Learning
It can be tempting to let yourself go on cruise control after you become established in your career. There are several reasons why this isn’t a good idea. One is that you are never sure what will happen in the future. Whether it is a sudden job loss or the dynamics change at your work circumstances can change quickly. Staying on top of necessary skills, even if they are not ones you use in your current job regularly, allows you to be much more marketable.
Continuing to expand and grow your skills is also important for your mental health. If it seems like your job is full of routine tasks that never change, burnout can start to creep in. Even if you are happy with your job, once you become competent with your duties, carelessness can allow errors to creep in. Constantly stretching and expanding your skillset keeps your mind sharp and your enthusiasm high. When you take the time to work on skills that have no direct application to your day to day work, the feeling you get from mastering these tasks is great for your overall outlook.