ENTREPRENEURSHIP / DEC. 27, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Analyze Your Competitive Position

Today’s globalized labor market and international economy forces each worker to maintain a sapient nature. The economy has greatly changed since the financial collapse a few years ago, and it’s one that requires the millennial generation to acclimatize otherwise they risk being left behind and without a steady and lucrative future.
 
Whether a professional is involved in the arts community, the engineering industry or the business field, each worker must showcase their skills in a new light and stay ahead of the competition. Indeed, it takes a lot more than just knowing Microsoft Office, having a piece of paper hanging on the wall and pushing ahead with a strong work ethic.

It may have been alright a few decades ago to have one primary skill in one specialty with one degree. However, this indifference can no longer be justified. It’s imperative that every professional push ahead with attaining new skills, new knowledge, and new technology.

Don’t know about cloud computing? Learn. Don’t know much about e-commerce? Learn. Don’t know much about view ability? Learn. Don’t much about crypto currency? Learn.
 
Every individual has to have a competitive position. Unsure what yours is? Here are five ways to analyze your competitive position so you can start 2015 with a bang and create new opportunities for yourself:

1. Skills 

The constant advice being put forward by everyone nowadays - from guidance counselors to business professionals - is to have some sort of skill in any of the STEM fields. Instead of knowing how to sketch or read Latin, you must have a skill where it translates to a career in this area whether it’s coding, chemical engineering, mathematics or computer science. No longer can you get ahead with just adeptness in 15th century literature.

2. Education 

The joke being passed around is that today’s Bachelor’s Degree is yesterday’s high school diploma. It’s quite accurate. However, it has become too expensive to either obtain a Bachelor’s or anything beyond that. Unfortunately, depending upon what field you’re entering, a Ph.D. or a Master’s may be the only option for you.

3. Work Experience 

When you construct a resume, do you only have a listing for one company you worked for? Or do you know have three months worth of experience? If so then now is the time to amplify your efforts and gain experience in your field. Whether it’s an internship, volunteering or working part-time, it’s imperative to have some sort of work history in the field of your choosing. Otherwise, it’s a good chance that the company you apply for will reject you instantaneously.

4. Soft Skills 

"While the tug of war between the importance of soft skills versus hard skills in the workplace can go in either direction at any given time, the fact is both skill sets are essential to thrive in today’s business world. Emotional intelligence is just as important as IQ and learning and development teams need to ensure that training initiatives focus on developing both skill sets," writes Michelle Eggleston of Training Industry Magazine

Millennials are quite famous for not having soft-skills, such as effectively communicating, professional leadership or immediate adaptation. This could be blamed on social media ubiquity, a lack of face-to-face communication thanks to smartphones and putting all their eggs in one hard-skills basket. Solidifying your skills is crucial if you wish to succeed in your career path. 

Well, unless your job entails you being a recluse. 

5. World Knowledge 

When participating in network engagements or speaking with other professionals in your line of work, they want to discuss more than just industry-related topics. They want to talk politics, economics, history, motion pictures and so on. Are you conversant in any of these subjects? It’s important to have at least some knowledge on current affairs, as well as a well-informed opinion.

Being competitive in today’s labor market and economy is very difficult. It does come with a certain degree of personal capital investment (spending money on certification, buying books and developing your soft skills). It does pay off in the end, however, and your human capital will dramatically enhance your earnings potential. Stay competitive, friends. 

Photo by c_ambler via Flickr.

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