Should you expect to love your job? That depends on who you ask. But should you be satisfied with your job? Now that’s a question everyone should be able to say yes to, whether it’s because they enjoy the work, it allows them to pay the bills with minimal stress, or it offers them the ability to make use of hard-earned skills.
The simplest way to put it is that you should feel like you have a career, not a dead-end job. If you don’t, then something needs to change – but don’t quit your day job just yet.
For those interested in building a new career or wanting to advance past their current position, the first step is to build new skills that will allow you to make a move with confidence.
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These 3 strategies can help you develop key capacities and earn the necessary certifications to enhance your career prospects.
Start With Hard Skills
One of the most important factors you should consider when trying to make a career move is whether or not you have the hard skills – the technical capacities – to perform a given job. For example, if you want to work in a computer-heavy field, employers tend to focus on hard skills like social media management, HTML, analytics, and even basic applications like Microsoft Office and Google apps, but industries vary. Marketing professionals need some of these same skills, as well as confidence with CMS programs, SEO, and SEM.
The easiest way to prove you have the hard skills demanded by a position is by researching your desired field and then finding classes in these skills. It’s relatively easy to pursue certifications as a Microsoft Office Specialist, a Cisco Certified Network Consultant, or to earn a forklift operator’s license. Do the groundwork to build your resume and you’ll find that you’re in demand by a number of employers.
Consider Degree Work
Many of the careers that are poised for growth in the next several years not only require hard skills, but employers will also demand formal coursework, whether that’s a certificate program or a college degree. The upside of this approach to career re-training is that you have a piece of paper you can point to indicating that you’re qualified to work in a particular position. Look for short-term programs like IMBC’s Dental Assisting diploma that will prepare you for national certifications and for work in a quickly growing field. Even individuals with liberal arts degrees might consider diploma or associate degree work in a practical field.
Make Communication A Priority
While hard skills are an important part of career preparedness, communication skills are often what set otherwise comparable applicants apart. After all, whether you work in a public-facing position where you have to speak with clients every day or you work in a remote position where everything takes place by email, how you communicate can determine your performance. If you have developed the hard skills needed to advance to a better position or earn employment in a new field but you’re not gaining any traction, the issue may be your communication skills.
In addition to being a key part of successful interactions with clients and coworkers, improving your communication skills can make you future-proof in a competitive and constantly changing world. Individuals with strong communication skills can sell themselves and their ideas, are better negotiators and tend to earn more – and you can improve your communication skills in just a few hours a month by studying sales strategy, paying better attention to emails before responding, or working on your listening skills. These may seem like small adjustments, but they can make a big difference to your career prospects.
Making a career move can be stressful, and you shouldn’t quit your current job if you don’t have something else lined up or have a financial safety net in place, but you also don’t have to. It’s easier than ever to earn new qualifications in your off-hours, online, or through independent study. With so many resources at your fingertips, there’s no reason to stay in a job that’s dragging you down.
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