Head in the clouds

To­day’s em­ploy­ees should al­ways look to im­prove their hire­abil­ity

Los Angeles Times - - JOBS - — Marco Buscaglia, Tri­bune Con­tent Agency

W hy is it that the lives of suc­cess­ful peo­ple al­ways seem to be mov­ing to­ward a goal, whether it’s per­sonal or pro­fes­sional? We’re not talk­ing about the 12-hour-aday desk drones, ei­ther. We’re talk­ing about those among us who’ve found a way to bal­ance work and home, yet al­ways keep mov­ing for­ward.

So what are the rest of us wait­ing for? Here are seven tips to en­sure that you re­frain from stand­ing

in place even when it seems like it’s the best course of ac­tion. It never is, so get mov­ing:

1. Add a skill

Tired of lis­ten­ing to your co­work­ers talk about the latest app or new­est pro­gram? That word-pro­cess­ing pro­gram you mas­tered 20 years ago is no longer a stand-out skill. In fact, it prob­a­bly never was in the first place. It’s time to bone up on the ap­pli­ca­tions that are driv­ing your com­pany’s in­fra­struc­ture.

“Most em­ploy­ees would be sur­prised to learn that their com­pa­nies are more than will­ing to pay for train­ing,” says Joan Reynolds, a cor­po­rate trainer in Spokane, Wash. “Com­pa­nies like to in­crease their in-house knowl­edge. It en­sures they al­ways have peo­ple in the build­ing who can do the work.”

2. Im­prove a skill

We all have ar­eas of our job that could use a lit­tle work, whether it’s mas­ter­ing spread­sheets or writ­ing more ef­fec­tive emails. With so much in­for­ma­tion online, you can spend a few sum­mer hours sharp­en­ing those nec­es­sary pro­cesses of your job.

“A lot of times, self-guided cour­ses are free and they can re­ally help you un­der­stand a pro­gram you use ev­ery day,” Reynolds says. “Think about how you could im­prove your ef­fi­ciency if you ac­tu­ally knew the ins and outs of Ex­cel or Pow­er­Point. It could make a huge dif­fer­ence.”

3. Re­vise your re­sume

Sure, it’s the ad­vice ev­ery­one starts with, but they do so for a rea­son. Your re­sume should never be a stag­nant doc­u­ment. It should con­tin­u­ally im­prove and evolve. Keep your skills and ex­pe­ri­ences cur­rent at all times.

“There’s no ex­cuse for a re­sume to be even the least bit dated,” says Bos­ton-based ca­reer con­sul­tant John Ma­son, who spe­cial­izes in aca­demic and ex­ec­u­tive re­sumes. “It takes five min­utes to add a line or two. There’s no rea­son for any gap at all be­tween what it says about you on your re­sume and what you’re do­ing in real life.”

4. Ex­pand your cir­cle

It’s one thing to have a strong net­work of con­tacts; it’s another to let that strong net­work sit in place. With tools from Ca­reerBuilder.com and other ca­reer­fo­cused sites, to­day’s em­ploy­ees should look to add peers, friends and men­tors to their list of con­tacts. Don’t down­play the im­por­tance of friends of friends. Many peo­ple have found jobs through their sis­ter’s boyfriend’s brother, or from some other ex­tended re­la­tion­ship.

5. Fo­cus on the key play­ers

Keep­ing the above ad­vice in mind, it’s im­por­tant to know that all con­tacts are equal. Your net­work will have sev­eral movers and shakers who will be of more help to your ca­reer than oth­ers. Keep those peo­ple in your cor­ner.

“Make a list of the core play­ers and find a way to make per­sonal con­tact with those play­ers at least twice a year,” says Ma­son. “These are the peo­ple who will re­ally help you out in the long run, but they’ll be more likely to help you out if you’ve had con­tact with them the past few months. It could be as sig­nif­i­cant as lunch or din­ner or as sim­ple as a note about their daugh­ter’s high school grad­u­a­tion. Just keep your most im­por­tant con­tacts con­nected to you in pro­fes­sional and per­sonal ways.”

6. Lead when­ever pos­si­ble

Take the ini­tia­tive on projects in and out of the work­place. “You learn from lead­ing, whether it’s a com­mit­tee at work that is com­ing up with a new web­site or the lo­cal scout troop who is putting to­gether the next pan­cake break­fast,” says Ma­son. “You man­age peo­ple, you man­age time, you man­age re­la­tion­ships, you man­age money and who knows what else. All of it is im­por­tant to your pro­fes­sional growth, so lead when­ever pos­si­ble.”

7. Stay pos­i­tive

Do your­self a fa­vor and stay away from the of­ficek­itchen gos­sip ses­sions and ig­nore the poi­son-email threads.

“It’s so easy to be sucked into neg­a­tive space at work,” says Reynolds. “And noth­ing good comes of it. You make your­self up­set, your at­ti­tude changes and there’s noth­ing you can do to hide it. You be­come one of ‘those’ peo­ple, the kind man­age­ment pass over when new op­por­tu­ni­ties come up. And worse, you make your­self and, in most cases, your fam­ily mis­er­able.”

Ma­son agrees. “There is lit­tle worse than the dis­grun­tled em­ployee who has a dark cloud over him,” he says. “It’s poi­son. No one wants to be around it. Even­tu­ally, your bosses will take no­tice and be­fore you know it, you’ll be gone.”

“There is lit­tle worse than the dis­grun­tled em­ployee who has a dark cloud over him. It’s poi­son.

No one wants to be around it. Even­tu­ally, your bosses will take no­tice and be­fore you know it,

you’ll be gone.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.