When it comes to your career, it is better to rise than to settle.
No longer fresh out of college, yet with a long road to go before retirement, the mid-career professional is at a unique life stage. Earlier generations stayed on the same career path their entire working lives – often at the same job. Today's professionals might change jobs (and even careers) five to seven times before retirement. The reason? People are no longer willing to settle for anything less than a career they love.
For those in the midst of their career looking to jumpstart their upward trajectory, make a lateral move or change career paths, learning a new skill is often the solution.
Here are seven key transferable skills that are especially valuable to professionals in today's fast-paced work environment.
1. Leadership skills
Effective leadership involves motivating yourself and others to achieve goals on both a personal and a company level. Solving problems, coaching others, delegating responsibilities and planning and coordinating tasks of any size are all cross-functional skills a leader needs to have in their toolkit. A diploma in Leadership Studies, available through Royal Roads University, can prepare you for the next step in your career path.
2. Computer and online skills
It's pretty common knowledge that computer skills are a must for any professional. Today, it's even more important to stay on top of advancements in software, as their programs and offerings are often changing. Whether you're more advanced (programming, creating macros) or doing more basic tasks like laying out a company newsletter, being familiar with how various computer programs and social media tools function allows you to be even more valuable to your employers. A refresher course, or one that teaches you a new skill, can help advance your career in this area.
3. Business strategy skills
Critical thinking and problem solving are skills that serve not only individuals, but organizations. Whatever size of company you're working for, knowing about business strategy will give you a leg-up. Being able to create a set of goals and action plans that lay out how your business intends to use its product or service offering to compete in the market is an extremely valuable skill. A graduate degree or certificate in a field such as Executive Management or Corporate Social Innovation will give you the ability to gain relevant, real-world knowledge that you can use immediately within your organization.
4. Communication skills
Being able to articulate your ideas clearly and convey them to customers or colleagues with confidence is one of the most basic employable skills. Effective written communication is just as important as verbal communication, too. Most written documents are crafted with the intention of getting the reader to take action, so being able to write engagingly and persuasively is important — especially when crafting a business proposal that could enable you to pursue a valuable project at work. A course in Applied Communication is a great way to get ahead in your chosen field.
5. Marketing and sales skills
Being able to sell something isn't just a useful skill for marketing professionals. Selling your ideas, and yourself as a talented employee, can be a key way to advance your career. When you're able to market the unique strengths you bring to the workplace, you raise your own value — and possibly your salary. Fine-tuning how to market yourself will ensure your employers see your value.
6. Practical skills
Managing time effectively, both in and out of the workplace, is a skill that often goes overlooked. Those that can successfully balance their schedule, and thus their workload priorities, become the employees that can be depended on. A course focusing on practical skills like time management, organizational communication and managing priorities can help you achieve your professional goals by developing the innate skills you already have.
7. Collaborative and interpersonal skills
"Playing nice" isn't just for the school yard. Being able to work together and see the perspectives of your team members allows your group to effectively weave ideas into a cohesive plan. Collaborative skills are essential for those looking to move up the ladder quickly, as the professional world favours individuals that can collaborate and be creative when coming up with solutions to complex issues. Brushing up on your conflict analysis and interpersonal social skills will empower you to help create a comfortable and cooperative work environment.