As we look at where we might be going in our careers, especially as jobs are becoming harder to acquire and company’s are laying off, your first thought may be to develop new skills to help make you more marketable in the future.
According to the 30-year Gallup survey “Investing in Your Strengths” involving 2 million workers your greatest room for improvement is actually found in your strengths and not in your weaknesses. Those who spent time improving their strengths in the workplace actually found greater success than those who spent time learning new skills.
Vaughan Evans, author of “Backing U! A Business Oriented Guide to Backing Your Passion and Achieving Success”, has developed the Stand Out! strategy so you can offer what makes you different from the other employees.
Says Evans, “If you focus on becoming near perfect in just one or two of your strong areas–areas that also happen to be critical to the success of your organization–you will differentiate yourself from coworkers.”
Begin by identifying your top strengths. These are things, says Evans, for which you have become known for. Perhaps you are strong at directing people, or at selling. Maybe your strengths include marketing or the arts.
Next, rank these strengths from one to five, one being the strongest.
Now, rank the strengths crucial to your job. Evans says, “In your job or type of business, what are the five or six strengths that are most valued and play the largest role in the success of your business?”
Compare these lists and invest in the top two strengths.”For now, forget your weaknesses. Instead, invest all of your energy in becoming a superstar in your two top strengths — ones that are also critical to the success of your business.”
You can do this in a variety of ways. Read books about the subject matter, or sign up for a course at the University. You might also find online tutorials or courses that can be taken from home. Network, of course, by attending events and workshops and conferences. They key is to become the expert in these two areas – that way, you stand out from the other people who might be vying for your position or a particular job for which you might want.
I have thought about this in the past few months, as I focus more on developing my skills in my own company. For a while I had considered going back to school part time to acquire new skills; then I realized that I would be better off strengthening what I already know. I love books, so I have purchased quite a few, and I also love to take courses, so I’m currently going through college catalogs to find one that
offers the coursework I’d like to take that would help enhance the skills I already have. I will let you know how it goes!
Are any of you trying to better your skills in your current area? If so, do you find that it is helping you gain more jobs or clients, or improve your standing within the company?