The path to a successful and rewarding career used to be straight and narrow. These days it seems more like a long and winding road. How do you navigate your way? How do you get the critical thinking skills and technology skills—not to mention the personal qualities—that make employers sit up and take notice? Once upon a time, collecting a high school diploma was the first and biggest step. The next step was applying for an entry-level job in a company. From there, it wasn't unreasonable to stay behind the same desk for 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years and then retire with a nice pension. Employees these days need to see something more before they'll give you a chance. College degrees, professional certifications, real-world work experience, industry-accredited licenses and "employability skills" are factors that come together to set you apart from the herd of job-seekers. Ultimately, these are the factors that make you an attractive candidate and allow you to have your pick of careers (rather than taking the first gig that comes along). They are also the factors that will get you ahead in the career you choose. You may not have heard the phrase "employability skills." It describes a range of soft skills that will beef up your resume and jump-start your job interviews. If you don't have employability skills, take the steps needed to get them. You won't regret it. There are four categories to think about:
- Basic employability skills are academic abilities such as reading, writing and math. Your school experience gave you grounding in these areas. These skills also include communication skills, which you'll have a chance to show off in your job interview.
- Critical thinking skills are a bit more abstract. These refer to your abilities to make decisions, solve problems, plan and organize. Employers value these skills in customer service, project management, office administration and IT careers.
- Personal qualities are employability skills as well. These refer to things such as how well you work with others, how confident you are and how self-motivated you are. Team spirit, social skills, personal grooming and adaptability are all elements of a well-rounded job candidate, as are being on time and being polite.
- Technology skills are the fourth type of employability skills. Regardless of the industry, it's getting harder and harder to find a job that doesn't employ technology in some degree. Email, research, working with spreadsheets, word processing—there isn't a task in a modern office that does not make use of some or all of these.
Finally, the right training (whether in basic office skills or in technology skills) is the first thing that will get your resume noticed. What skills are employers looking for in your field? Find out and get trained. Meditec offers business training for business administrators and executive assistants and IT exam preparation training for a range of careers, including:
- Microsoft Certified Application Specialist (MCAS 2007)
- Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS 2010)
- Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP)
Convenient and affordable courses cover technology skills training, office skills training and other professional development that can get you ahead in your current career or get you started with a new one.