The working world has undergone an incredible transformation in the past few decades. We have gone from an age where most people had one- and only one- job in their lives (starting at an early age and retiring decades later with the same company or business), to the average person entering the workforce today having anywhere from 12-15 different jobs in their lifetime (according to Forrester Research).
It’s hard to make your mark when you’re constantly on the move, professionally speaking. But it can be done with the right skill set. If you want to stand out, if you want to be employee of the month (even if no such designation actually exists), you need skills that match the world we live in.
#1 - Willingness to Learn New Things
The world changes pretty darn fast. Many machines and devices we take for granted today didn’t exist a few years ago. The skills and talents that are now in demand were unheard of just a little while ago. The “must-haves” of tomorrow don’t even exist today. What will tomorrow bring, or next year, or five years from now? In order to thrive in the world, you have to a) continue to learn new things and skills, and b) recognize that as an opportunity and blessing rather than a chore. The best employees are willing and happy to take on new challenges and learn new skills to better drive not only their own career, but the success of their company, too.
#2 - Communication Skills
This one is never going to go out of style. The medium may change, but the fundamental skills remain the same whether it’s a letter, phone call, email, or video conference. To be employee of the month, you need exceptional communication skills, and that includes both oral and written, as well as grammar, spelling, presentation, listening, and online skills. While obviously similar, there are some important differences that make them unique. Can you write a professional email? Is it the same as a social media update that engages your followers (hint: no)? Employees that can communicate effectively and properly across multiple platforms and mediums are going to be much sought-after. Employees that can listen, understand, and articulate themselves will go far in the present and the future.
#3 - Innovation and Problem-Solving
Technology. Devices. Apps. Software. Everything changes at a breakneck speed in 2015. Can you keep up with it all? Can you see opportunities for innovation using those advances, and take them even further? An employee of the month uses the tools available to them to solve problems, constantly up-to-date with the emerging trends and trailblazers. They see connections and solutions that others don’t see.
#4 - Grit
Tenacity. Perseverance. Determination. Persistence. Call it whatever you want, but employees of the month have it. They don’t quit at the first sign of trouble or difficulty. They’re the individuals that others turn to in those moments. They work on something until it’s done, until the problem has been fixed, until the customer/boss/manager is completely and utterly satisfied. They never, ever turn away from a problem, issue, concern, complaint, or tricky situation...they roll up their sleeves and dive right in.
When the going gets tough, the employees of the month get going. Period.
#5 - Attentiveness
Attentiveness is a much-ignored but highly desirable trait. It means paying attention at all times (and therefore never missing something that everyone else glossed over or didn’t even notice), reading between the lines, and identifying problems, needs, and desires before anyone else (and often before they’ve even presented themselves).
Yes, you need to be reliable, and have solid time management skills coupled with the required job/industry-specific knowledge to do your current job well. These things are, of course, crucial to your success. But, in the modern career dynamic, you need more. The five skills listed here are “transferable” skills that will serve you no matter the job, industry, or company. And in an age where the majority switch positions every few years, that becomes more essential than anything else you could add to your tool belt.
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