We all know how competitive the job market has been in the last eighteen months. As businesses have been struggling to stay afloat, many of us have faced being placed on extended furlough, forced to worry about whether our contracts will be extended, or being made redundant. Living through such uncertainty and worry is incredibly difficult, and it feels like everyone has been waiting for things to get better before they think about their next step.
However, as we have seen over the last few months, things may get better, but they will get there slowly. The warning signs around autumn in the UK have already begun, as fears of rising cases and deaths are impossible to ignore. What’s more, we are seeing more and more signs of the difficulties that Brexit will continue to cause with warnings of empty shelves at Christmas and a shortage of workers across a broad range of industries. What does that mean for you? It means that you need to start taking positive steps to improve your skillset right now. The perfect time to push for a promotion may never come, so you need to give yourself the tools to push yourself. Here are a few areas that will impress managers and potential employers if you add them to your CV.
When the pandemic hit, businesses were forced to close their doors and turn their full attention to promoting themselves online. Of course, this was not a huge problem for the bigger brands, who had resources to spare in addition to a name that people already recognised. For other businesses, it made the marketplace even more competitive. Everyone was trying to figure out a strategy that cost as little as possible, but which would still give them the edge. If you want to be a valuable asset to any business, digital marketing is only going to become more important.
As every business has discovered over the last few months, there is a huge difference between having a basic understanding of how to run a social media account and how to actually make it work. So many companies still run a very basic social media presence that is more of a placeholder than anything else, tweeting out the occasional motivational meme at the start of the week or jumping in with a hashtag to try and jump on the latest trend before it burns out.
Social media is about so much more than bland pleasantries or the occasional link to a promotion on your website. Business social media is about understanding how to connect to your target audience in a way that engages and surprises them. It is about intuitively understanding what will work and being confident enough to abandon strategies that are not having any effect. The reason why social media skills are so highly sought after is because real expertise is harder to find than you might think. Developing them will make you an asset.
One of the oldest questions in the interview handbook will be something along the lines of “give an example of a time when you have resolved a problem and describe how you went about it.” If you really want to climb the ladder to a more senior position in your company or somewhere new, you need to be confident working on the next level. Negotiation skills are going to become more important as we move out of the pandemic and face the myriad challenges that are on the horizon. Every business is going to be looking at the issues arising from Brexit and COVID-19, and they are going to be making hard choices. Negotiation is not just about refusing to budge. It’s about using your knowledge of power structures, different cultures, and influence to craft a solution that works for both parties. An online negotiation course can give you knowledge and skills from industry experts to make you a valuable asset to any business.
Timekeeping And Project Management
These skills may sound somewhat more general than the specific qualities we have discussed above, but if you can demonstrate that you are confident and capable of managing your workload and managing a group working on a project, then you are going to be very appealing to businesses in the months ahead.
The shift to remote working was a real eye-opener for a lot of businesses as they struggled to keep track of their teams and make sure that everyone was on the same page. Now, the return to the office may be underway but it is likely that we will see a hybrid way of working continue, especially if vaccine requirements become widespread. Consider taking a project management course to give yourself demonstrable skills in this area and prove that you can handle responsibility.
Used with permission from Saundra Dalton-Smith.