Professional

Useful Skills for All Careers

No matter the industry, certain skills are universally beneficial for anyone who wants to be successful in their career. Whether you are working at a non-profit, tech startup, or even retail; these skills are sure to help you be more effective, productive, and stressless.

People Skills

Although often overlooked, people (also known as soft) skills can get you very far in the workplace, more so than any technical skills. We live in a collaborative world where you must juggle projects with people of different personalities and perspectives. Having the ability to see the world through different lenses will allow you to work well with others. Of course, we all have typical personality types that we “gel” with, but the better you can communicate with someone who is different from you, the more you’ll be heavily relied on to get the job done.

How do you master People Skills? Here are a few guiding thoughts to get you started.

  • Stop and think how others may perceive a particular situation differently from you.
  • Ask how someone perceived a particular situation to determine the differences from your own perception.
  • Consider what is important to others in contrast to yourself. (ex. the project designer has different priorities from the project marketer or manager)

Databasing/Analysis

I remember putting together simple excel spreadsheets for experiment data in my high school chemistry lab. For a while, that was the extent of my experience, two columns/two rows and a bunch of numbers to create a chart. However, once I got to college I gathered how to filter data and use formulas in spreadsheets more efficiently to organize a budget or even a mailing list.

Basic skills as these are helpful in analyzing data and effortlessly navigating spreadsheets given to you by your supervisor. Learn these basic excel skills to boost your confidence in databasing and analysis:

  • Utilizing multiple sheets in a single workbook effectively
  • Creating and using basic formulas
  • Quickly copy data and create sequences down your spreadsheet
  • Freeze panes for easy viewing
  • Analyze with pivot tables

Mental Recall/Short-Term Memory

Have you ever found yourself in an impromptu meeting trying to mentally retain a long list of tasks? You don’t have your notebook or device, but your boss shares with you important information.

Random conversation can strike at any moment, prompting you to think fast, work efficiently, and rely on your short-term memory to get the job done. At one time, I diligently kept a notebook in hand at all times in anticipation of these moments. But that’s an ideal situation, and rarely is every day at work ideal. Keeping your mind sharp will help with unexpected tasks. Download a mind game to your phone to exercise your brain muscles to build up your short-term memory and efficiency. My favorite game for this is Elevate.

Time Management

“Time is money.” We all know the phrase but do we really understand the concept of properly using our time for productivity. There have been many studies to show, to the point of corporate adoption, that most jobs can be done in a 25-30 hour work week. This is contrary to our typical 40 hours. This means to me, that I have additional time to strategize, brush up on skills, and better plan out my projects.

You should have a decent understanding of what promotes productivity in your personal workspace. Is it background music? Prioritizing items on a to-do list? Or taking short breaks every 30 minutes? Maybe it’s simply taking out time to organize your thoughts or tasks each afternoon following lunch.

Whatever it is, incorporate it into your daily routine to be more productive. You will find that this will lead to better time management. The key is to find the most productive approach and plan accordingly.

How do you master time management:

  • Prioritize your tasks. You will feel productive and time efficient if the most important tasks are completed first.
  • Find a routine that will keep you up to date with all your recurring projects.
  • If you’re still having problems, log your project details and the time it takes to complete each. Analyze your results and consider ways to cut time off particular projects.
  • Also, log achievements and list what made you successful. Try to duplicate that process.

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