Career Key

Author: Career Key's President and CEO, Juliet Wehr Jones, GCDF, J.D.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Know and Strengthen Your Job Skills You Enjoy: The Good News

In the rush of daily work, many of us forget to do regular “maintenance” with our job skills. Maintaining our attractiveness on the job market means identifying our skills, strengthening and adding to them, Principle #1 in my blog series, 6 Principles of the Free Agent Outlook on Work.

The more scarce and in demand your skills are, the more likely you will get or keep a job – in other words, marketable skills. The good news is that skills can be both “marketable” and “enjoyable” – you just need to plan it that way.

The following 5 actions will help make you a successful Free Agent using marketable skills you enjoy:

1. Identify your skills, including the “Foundation Skills” and your “motivated skills”, those you enjoy using. You can do this by following the steps in Career Key author Dr. Lawrence K. Jones’s article, “Identify Your Skills.

2. Match your personality with careers, keeping in mind what you learned about your “motivated skills.” Your Career Key test results and the skills you identified will show you the direction most likely to result in job satisfaction.

3. Know what skills your industry, desired employer, and career path requires. If you’re in the right career – one that matches your personality, it should require your “motivated skills.” If not, then you need to re-evaluate your career path. What you don’t enjoy, you will not do well in the long term.

4. Strengthen the skills you enjoy and that your career requires. You can do this in several ways:
  • take training or classes (paid for by your employer or by yourself),
  • seek out people with skills you lack or are weak in, and spend time with and learn from them. This could be in your social life and on the job,
  • ask for certain work assignments, and/or start a project outside of your job (small business, volunteer).
5. Clearly communicate your skills and accomplishments to employers, whether you are interviewing or in a performance evaluation meeting. If you don’t get performance evaluations, find appropriate ways to make sure your boss – and if possible, your boss’s boss, knows about your skills. For example, if your project made money for the company, find ways to publicly thank people who helped you on the project.

Successful Free Agents need to be ready to tell a prospective employer what their skills are, how they used them in the past, and how they will use them in the future to help the employer achieve their goals (profits, helping people, etc). Preparing yourself using these exercises will make you a successful Free Agent.

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