Bestselling author Martin Yate, a career coach and former HR professional, takes your questions each week about how to further your career in HR. Contact him at the e-mail address at the end of this column.
The technology that jobs depend on is changing and expanding. To stay competitive, workers need to pursue ongoing learning.
Not so long ago, competence with Word, Excel and other Microsoft products was a big plus on a resume. Today, those skills are a necessity in white-collar jobs and many blue-collar jobs, as well.
The following technology skills and proficiencies are becoming increasingly important. If you already have the skills I'm about to outline, you are in the minority. This gives you an enhanced opportunity for professional growth, career stability and economic security. Keep the competitive edge you've established to ease strategic career moves.
On the other hand, if you aren't consistently developing new skills that are relevant to your area of expertise, you may be heading toward obsolescence. You need to research the in-demand skills relevant to your job and profession, and invest some time and energy in learning about new technologies to become competitive.
In-Demand Technical Skills
These are the new, sought-after technical skills needed across a wide range of white-collar jobs:
- Project management.
- Six Sigma.
- Lean management.
- Theory development and conceptual thinking.
- Counseling and mentoring.
- Business analytics.
- Affiliate marketing.
- Social networking, including both video and audio production.
In-Demand Technology Proficiencies
At the same time, there is a growing list of technology skills focused on productivity that have applications extending far beyond technology jobs to all professions. Many employers will welcome a staff member who can use spreadsheets and databases and update a webpage or is knowledgeable in customer relationship management (CRM). Here are some of the skills that enhance employability in almost all jobs:
- Database management.
- Spreadsheet creation.
- Data analysis.
- Quantitative analysis.
- Building and designing presentations.
- Digital communication, including social media, internal workplace communications, training and development.
Eventually, more and more of these skills will become specific requirements for the jobs of the future. Become proficient in them now and you will add a "special sauce" to your candidacy for any job.
Have a question for Martin about advancing or managing your career? From big issues to small, please feel free to e-mail your queries to YourCareerQA@shrm.org. We'll only publish your first name and city, unless you prefer to remain anonymous—just let us know.