There are a lot of things that you learn as you get older that would have come in really handy when you’re young. Unfortunately, most of us learn the most useful life skills at a time in life when there are fewer opportunities to practice the craft. Most of us get really good at them just about the time we retire and don’t really use them as much anymore.
So, here’s your chance to get a jump on your peers by investing in skills that will serve you well through your entire career. Some of these skills will not only help you land a job but keep it when pink slips start to fly. The really good news is you don’t have to be a pro at these skills, just be marginally better than your peers. It’s the old story about outrunning a bear: You don’t have to be faster than the bear, only faster than the guy next to you. These skills will keep you ahead of the pack and it’s worth investing both time and money into training in these areas.
Become a Spreadsheet/Data Pro
No one in modern offices is more valuable than the person who can make magic happen with spreadsheets and online data sets. The people who can aggregate data from various sources and package that data into succinct and graphic displays will be the first hired and the last one out the door when employment gets tough. Not only is that a skill that will serve you well at work but in equal measure at home when it comes to budgeting and managing your personal finances and investments. If you ever want to start your own business, being able to accurately track expenses and project sales are life-saving skills.
This one is worth spending some money on because good negotiating skills will save you money and help you earn more. This is another skill that I call a “force multiplier” at work because it allows you to work above your job title. One of those things that you learn too late in life is that almost everything is negotiable.
Most people suck at public speaking and they’re terrified of it. That’s good for the people who do it well. If you’re good at public speaking and putting on presentations, you’ll get tasked with it more often. People who are out front more often become the face of the company and move up faster. Just like negotiating skills, being good at public speaking will keep your face and your name in regular circulation.
Success at work and life depends on being able to get things done. The key to getting things done is time management. Many confuse time management with time budgeting. Merely setting aside time doesn’t mean the task is going to get done, especially if elements are dependent on other people. Effective time management takes dependencies into account and crafts a strategy that is both timely and efficient.
There are a lot of useful skills that help you at work but these will make certain that you stand above your peers in value to your employer. People who can visualize data, negotiate well, speak well and manage time effectively will come out on top.