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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The 4 Job Skills Most Likely To Land You a Great Job 12-13

The 4 Job Skills Most Likely To Land You a Great Job

Lately, looking at the lists of careers-you’re-most-likely-to-get-a-job-in is a little depressing if you’re not a technologist, scientist, or mathematician.
But I just read a really interesting post here on Forbes by Meghan Casserly   about the most important job skills for 2013.  Of the 10 skills she cites (based on  pulling out the critical skill-sets for the top jobs of 2013 as defined by CareerBuilder  ), I noticed that the top four are completely career-path agnostic.  They’re not technical skills at all, but rather core skills that – I believe – any person needs to excel at almost any job.  The four are:
Critical thinking –  being able to employ a rational, logical approach to sorting through the pros and cons of various proposals, points of view, or conclusions.
Complex problem-solving -  knowing how to tease apart a complicated issue and come to a workable and efficient solution.
Judgement and decision-making -  being able to weigh the costs and benefits of a situation and make a clear decision based upon that assessment.
Active listening -  fully taking in what others are saying, asking questions for clarity, and demonstrating your understanding.

All four of these skills are components of 9 out of 10 of the most in-demand jobs – and they’re the only ones on the list so broadly represented.
So how do you develop these skills, if you don’t already have them?  They’re generally not taught in school (unfortunately).  However, you can improve in these areas, and here are some ways to do it:
Listening is the foundation – listening is not only one of the four skills, it’s essential to becoming good at the other three. Being able to listen well and thoroughly provides you the information and insight you need in order to think critically, solve problems well, and make sound decisions. And, fortunately, it’s probably the easiest to learn. There’s a chapter on listening in my book Growing Great Employees  , and also a bonus Listening section inLeading So People Will Follow  . Either one provides a practical skill-based roadmap to improving your listening skills.
Find and use mentors – I’d be willing to bet that you have people in your network who are really good at each of the first three skills: perhaps your boss, a peer, a friend or family member.  Once you’ve identified someone who is good at one of these skills, ask that person whether he or she would be willing to help you get better at doing it. (Generally, people love to be called upon to share their skill or knowledge.) Observe them when you can; ask them to walk you through their process.  Talk them through a situation where you’re practicing one of the skills, and tell them how you’re thinking about it.  Ask them for their feedback – what they’d do differently and why.
Be permeable – I spent about an hour yesterday with someone who was, as far as I could tell, completely impervious to learning. All his energy was directed toward being right, good, the best, not at fault, taking credit, assigning blame.  I couldn’t see any way into him: his view of himself and the world was entirely set.  He was the opposite of permeable. All four of these skills require flexibility and openness of thinking: about yourself, about others, about the situations you’re in.  One way to practice being permeable is to ask yourself – in any situation: “What am I not seeing here?”  or “What more could I understand?”

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