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In order to be competitive in today’s fast changing and demanding job market, you need to constantly update and refine your skills. Developing skills gives you a competitive edge, and it helps you land your dream job. What are some of the most valuable skills that help you get a job? And how can you develop those skills? According to Money.com, these are some of the top skills that are valued in job market today.

1 Data Management Skill

Nowadays organizations have access to vast amounts of data. And thanks to advancements in technology, it is becoming easier to gather, store, and analyze data to better understand the market, customers, trends, etc. However, more and more organizations are drowning in the sea of data, struggling to make sense of it and extract valuable insights. Data management is one of the most desired skills today in any type of organization. These are some of the specific skills  that companies are seeking:

  • SAS (Statistical Analysis System)
  • Data Mining / Data Warehousing
  • Data Modeling

2 Financial Analysis Skill: Analyzing the impact of your role

Until recently, it was only finance people who worried about the bottom line.  Those days are over. Whatever position you hold in an organization, it is very important to understand how much impact you make to the bottom-line.  It helps you to understand how well you are doing or how you can improve plus it helps in presenting your work to your peers, in your professional evaluations and as you look for your next career transition.  

Let’s say you are in charge of managing social media accounts for an organization, and your role is to raise awareness and/or communicate with prospects/customers. Even if it doesn’t seem like your role directly affects the bottom-line, it is crucial that you understand and analyze how your work can impact sales. For example, “what % of Facebook fans convert to users/customers” or “how social media campaigns are helping to form loyal customers?” Start thinking about those questions and analyze how you can improve your impact. These are some of the skills that would help you.

  •  Financial Analysis
  •  Contract Negotiation

3 Technical Skill: Follow technology trends

Organizations are always looking for people with the right technical skills i.e. Ruby, Java, AngularJS. Let’s say your dream job is a graphic designer. Then you might want to check what kind of skills or tools are popular among them – what skills/tools would help you stick out from the crowd or let you do your job better?  Think about what is needed in the market, and start learning.  Particularly in this field most tools have a limited shelf life so you need to be flexible and always be looking for opportunities to learn new skills.

 

How can you learn these skills?

So the question is, how you can learn these skills to add value to your resume?  There are really 3 options to learn new skills:

  1. Learn on the job – can be ideal but not often possible. While apprenticeships are rising [link to article on apprenticeship growth], still few companies offer this option.
  2. Dedicated learning time which while great for full-time students but not possible for many. Taking time off from current employment to learn a new skill is expensive and time consuming.  Plus employers are looking for less theory and more practical skills.
  3. Learn as you go in a more self-directed flexible way. Learning skills for most needs to be affordable, fit within your lifestyle, not force you to take time off from work and timely (be able to learn it when you need it and not take too long).

Luckily, there are now lots of services to help you with learning new skills that can fit within/around your life. Here are just some of them.

Most of these websites offer free or low cost online courses for various categories. The key to success for online courses is to plan the schedule for when to take classes before you start. Many people quit half way through, but if you really focus and make a commitment you’ll learn a lot.

The other way is to get certified. Many software companies offer free or paid certification programs. Check what are some of the key tools might be important to learn for your desired position, and search if they offer certifications.  Many of these certificate programs are also delivered in a flexible way to fit within your existing schedule.

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