In our current economic and social climate, things are changing rapidly. Businesses are restructuring to meet a more socially and environmentally conscious world. Many people are reevaluating whether their current employment or career paths are in line with their personal values and goals. Some are simply changing companies. However, many are finding themselves pivoting into new, unfamiliar fields, in an increasingly competitive job market to boot. As a result, they are having to make changes to better position themselves to maintain their current earning level.
So – the question is: How do you increase your value in the marketplace?
The Answer? In the same way you increase the value of your financial assets: investments.
To that end, I’d like to share four steps you can take that will not only increase your marketplace value but will also enrich your life.
1. Hone Your Communication Skills
Multiple studies have shown one of the most important factors in career advancement and professional success is communication skills: verbal, non-verbal, and written.
During my 25-year corporate career I observed that, for the most part, the people who got ahead were those who seized opportunities to convey their thoughts and ideas.
The need for good communication skills isn’t limited to giving formal speeches to large audiences. Good communication skills are an essential component of sales presentations, training programs, the presentation of research findings, and even running company meetings. Yes – good communication and speaking skills are needed in virtually every aspect of your personal and professional life.
Good communication skills not only increase your value to your employer but also raise your visibility within your community. Given the fickle nature of today’s job market, increasing your visibility through good communication skills is one of the best forms of employment security. Avoidance of honing our speaking skills is a luxury many of us no longer have. We just cannot be successful if we cannot verbally connect with others.
2. Read Extensively
I don’t know who first said this but I have found it to be true – “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” Reading makes your mind stronger, faster, and keener. It quickens your response to new information and deepens your understanding of both current events and human nature.
I make it a practice to read a wide variety of non-fiction works, weekly, to keep abreast of new developments and trends. I challenge you to do the same.
3. Nurture Your Network
Did you know that all of us are only two contacts away from another person? In other words, if you picked up a phone book and selected the name of someone at random, you would know somebody who knows that person! Given that fact, imagine how powerful networking can be!
The basics of networking include being friendly to those you meet, researching the background of the people you wish to know (you can find almost anything on the internet these days), and nurturing your relationships. Persistent, consistent networking will fuel your professional success and dramatically increase your opportunities.
4. Mind Your Manners
One of the most overlooked but important ways to boost your professional success is to learn and observe proper etiquette. You simply cannot walk into a game and hope to emerge victorious without knowing the rules.
Good manners are so important in the corporate world that many businesses have internally and externally generated etiquette classes for their employees; especially those with sales personnel. It goes without saying – by learning and observing the basics of etiquette, you will have a competitive advantage over many others.