How to improve your computer skills to get ahead in your career

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Don’t get stuck in the dark ages. Switch on your motherboard and join a world of professionals climbing the corporate ladder with computer skills. Get the lowdown on Basic Computer Skills for a Successful Career and reboot your future.

Why are Basic Computer Skills Important for a Successful Career?

Let’s face it, every professional requires some basic computer skills to do your work. Whether you are a creche teacher, nail technician or a financial manager, you need computer skills to thrive in the workplace. Here’s why basic computer skills are essential for a successful career.

Effective Communication

All businesses make use of emails to communicate. If you think that writing a sticky note or leaving a voicemail is still the most effective way of communicating, you are wrong! Up your game and learn the basics to keep up with what’s happening in your organisation.

All Jobs Rely on Technology

Like we have mentioned, most if not all jobs need you to have some handle on technology. Businesses rely on technology to run things and use certain tools to market their brand and increase revenue.

Job Opportunities

Employers want workers who are up to date with trends. If you lack certain basic computer skills, some recruiters might not even want to interview you. Get access to more job opportunities by updating your computer skills.

What are Computer Skills?

This may seem obvious, but people are not always sure what employers mean when the job description says “computer skills.” Employers are looking for employees who can use specific programs, like WordPress or Microsoft. But, at the rate technology changes, these preferences may also change. What’s important is that you are willing to use new programs and technologies.

How to improve your computer skills to get ahead in your career

Types of Computer Skills

Technology is so vast, so it is impossible to identify one set of computer skills. To ensure job security, getting clued up on the following skills is your best bet.

Productivity Software – All professionals must know the basics of productivity software. These are things like Email Management, Microsoft Office, and Excel.

Digital Marketing – In today’s age, businesses need digital marketing to grow. More customers are searching online for solutions to their problems. Making digital marketing one of the most effective ways to reach clients.

Computer Programming – This involves creating, launching, maintaining, and testing computer software and applications. Some jobs titles include software developer, programmer and software analyst.

Basic Computer Skills That are Essential for a Successful Career

Each job varies from place to place. So, the skills needed to perform your duties will vary too. But, investing in a basic computer course is essential to climb the corporate ladder. Some of the basic skills required for a successful career are:

Microsoft Office

All workers must have a basic understanding of Microsoft Office. To increase your job security you can go a step further and get certified in Microsoft. This will enable you to do things like format documents, carry out mail merges and change macro scripts.


Knowing how to work with spreadsheets is oftentimes a requirement in job applications. Recruiters seek out individuals who know how to do this as it allows them to organise spreadsheet information in a way that is effective.


If you want to give dynamic presentations to your employers then you must have a grasp on PowerPoint. Job candidates who can show recruiters interesting presentation slides will often have a leg up in the hiring process.


Everyone uses email. Whether it be in our personal or professional capacity. Those individuals who can complete advanced functions can positively influence the efficiency of the work environment.

Web and Social Media Skills

Most organisations are looking for ways to improve their digital presence. Employees who have web and social media skills can be a great asset to any company. Improving these skills are a great way to prepare yourself for a job market that is becoming more digitally inclined.

How to improve your computer skills to get ahead in your career

How to Improve Your Computer Skills and get Ahead in Your Career

With all these terms, you might be asking yourself how can you improve your basic understanding of computers? There are some steps you can take. The easiest way is to enrol for official training from a trustworthy college.

Enrol for a Computer Course: Enrolling for a course is always the smart decision. You’ll be confident in the workplace knowing that you have credible, recognised training.

Ask Questions: Within the workplace there are always people who know more than we do. It will be worth a try consulting your company’s IT professionals and raising your concerns and confusion to them.

Practice Makes Perfect: Play around on your computer and with various systems. The more comfortable you are with technology, the easier it will be to learn new skills.

Our Computer Courses

Computer skills are essential to surviving in today’s technological workforce. If you feel like you need that extra bit of help, why not enrol for our computer courses? We offer the following computer courses:

These courses all aim to give you the most basic to the most advanced knowledge, depending on your needs. They are all provider programs and open access which mean anyone can enrol.

Benefits of Studying With us:

Once you complete your qualifications you’ll be able to get access to more work opportunities and earn more. Here’s why you should take the leap and study with us:

  • Free access to our student support platform with Together we Pass
  • All study material couriered to you at no extra cost
  • Financial benefits like our study fast,pay less policy
  • Credible, recognised training

Press Play on Your Career!

We’ve got the code to your success. Enrol into our courses and update your basic computer skills. Our course experts are ready to help you through our quick and easy process. Contact us today on:

  • Complete our online contact form
  • Call us for free at 0800 39 0027

How to improve your computer skills to get ahead in your career

Anyone with a job (and that makes most of us) eventually wants to know how they can move up the ladder of success to positions of greater responsibility. Just as the world of business has undergone massive change over the past decade or two, so have the ways that you can move your career forward.

According to Paige Brown–the co-founder & CEO of Dashbell, a web-based booking solution for independent hotels–“In today’s corporate world, the old rules of paying your dues at one company in one city or town no longer hold true.” And these aren’t the only career rules that have changed.

If you’re interested in putting your career onto a higher track, then consider these 9 proven and powerful ways to jump ahead in your career right now:

1. Pick up and move

If you have the ability to move to a new city to take advantage of a greater opportunity, do it! In fact, sometimes that’s what you must do in order to get ahead. According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, “a job seeker with expanded geographic bounds is likely to find employment faster.”

2. Step outside your (job history) box

Your skills are not the same as your job history or your certifications. Identify growth industries and consider transitioning in order to jump ahead. Don’t worry; your skills are transferable.

3. Think small

It can pay off to be a big fish in a little pond. Consider taking a job at a smaller firm where there is greater opportunity to take on more responsibilities, which can help you rise up the ladder faster.

4. Stick around long enough to actually learn something

The Millennial generation is famous for “job-hopping,” and while it’s true that we don’t need to follow our parents’ career paths, it’s important to stick around at your current job long enough to learn and acquire skills. If you are jumping to a new job every month, you’re not gaining the skills you need to have a real experience and truly get ahead.

5. Demonstrate your knowledge

If you are trying to promote yourself as an expert in a field, show off what you know! Blogging and (smart) posting on social media can demonstrate your knowledge. When Dashbell CEO Paige Brown was establishing herself in the travel industry, she actively blogged about her own travels to 49 countries.

6. Attend the right conferences

Find out which conferences are most important in your desired industry and find a way to attend. You won’t have the time or resources to attend them all, so be selective. While some conferences can seem cost-prohibitive, be resourceful. If you can’t afford to pay for a conference you really want to attend, offer to work in exchange for access.

7. Identify key mentors

Find people within and without your current company who can serve as mentors. A great way to begin is to volunteer for projects, with mentoring rather than money as your pay.

8. Volunteer your services

Consulting for no pay can seem completely at odds with getting ahead, but volunteering your services can allow you to build your skills–and your network–as you gain access to valuable career contacts.

9. Study up

You don’t have to re-enroll in school, but taking courses outside of your current job can help you learn new skills to get ahead.

How to improve your computer skills to get ahead in your career

When it comes to to succeeding in the workplace, a college degree isn’t necessarily enough. Nor is years of experience on the job.

That’s because the most in-demand skills that employers crave are the elusive “soft skills”—the intangible but important qualities that enable you to work and interact with the people around you effectively.

These traits include leadership, self-awareness, communication skills, and emotional intelligence. In fact, an important criteria during the hiring process at Google is screening for “learning ability.”

Having great soft skills can be a huge game-changer as you go through your career. It can be the difference between getting people to believe in you or being forgotten, the difference between advancing a project or having it rejected, the difference between getting a promotion or finding yourself in yet another disappointing lateral move. These skills teach you not just to be a better employee but a stellar human being as well.

So, check out the five soft skills below that are essential for success—all of which you can teach yourself to practice in your daily interactions:

1. Listening: Make it Your Secret Communication Weapon

People often associate good communicators with excellent public speaking. But the best communicators do something that most others fail at. They listen.

The easiest way to build trust with someone is by showing interest in him or her. You can accomplish this by listening more than you talk. Good listeners don’t think about what they’re going to say next when the other person is speaking. Good listeners ask follow-up questions. Good listeners make it all about the person they’re with—not about them.

When in doubt, provide guiding cues like “Tell me more about that.” The most valuable thing that you can give someone is your attention.

2. Take Accountability: Do What You Say You’re Going to Do

When something goes wrong and you’re responsible for it, don’t make excuses, ignore it, or blame someone else. Instead, take full accountability and responsibility for the role that you played in it. Even better, learn from it.

Further, when working on a project, it’s easy to hit send on a message or email and assume your job is done. It’s even easier to agree to something in a meeting and then not follow through on it. However, being accountable also means making no assumptions, it means holding others accountable and following-up to confirm tasks have been completed, and it means keeping the agreements that you make.

When in doubt, this skill’s all about doing what you say you’re going to do. This is the core of integrity and it builds trust.

3. Creative Thinking: Be Resourceful With What You’ve Got

Being creative often means finding ways to solve problems with limited resources. Chefs are a great example of how to do this. If a chef wants to make a dish that requires 10 ingredients, but he only has seven of them on hand, what will he do? Is he going to leave his customers hungry?

No, a great chef will go into problem-solving mode. He’ll find a way to get creative with the seven ingredients that he has to make a delicious dish. The greatest innovations tend to arrive under constraints. The companies with the largest budgets or head counts don’t always finish first. Use your disadvantages to your advantage. Focus on the ingredients that you have, not the ones you don’t, and then embrace the freedom that this creates.

4. Emotional Awareness: Know What You’re Feeling

When we’re having a good or bad day, it’s easy to act on pure emotion. But this can be a deeply problematic way of making decisions (for reasons you can probably figure out).

The truth is, sometimes when you’re afraid, you’re actually very excited. Sometimes when you’re sad, you’re really angry. Sometimes when you’re angry, you’re actually quite sad. When you’re feeling any type of emotion that may cause you to behave in a questionable manner, one that you may possibly regret a few hours later, press pause and ask yourself: “What am I really feeling?”

Talk to a friend. Get a second opinion on that angry email you have drafted to your boss before you press send. Take the time to pause, re-center, and ask yourself what’s most important.

5. Empathy: Go Outside to Connect Inside

It’s easy to be part of the crowd and do what everyone else does, particularly within a large organization. However, it’s valuable to find time outside of the office to explore new experiences that allow you to grow and build empathy for others.

Great outlets for this include volunteering, taking continuing education courses, travel, working on side projects, attending conferences or cultural events, and more. When we do this, we learn how to connect with others outside of our industry and build an understanding of those who may have different viewpoints, backgrounds and who see things from a different perspective. This also teaches us how much we may have in common with others.

When we take these outside experiences back inside the office, it can create a greater empathy and understanding of our colleagues, which ultimately allows us to feel more comfortable in our own skin.

And this is really what soft skills are about. After all, it’s not just about landing a cushy job or impressing an employer. Bringing these traits to a job can help make the work you do more efficient, effective, and—dare I say it—even enjoyable. They may seem simple and you may already be practicing some of them, but push yourself to do more, go deeper, push yourself even further. Because in the long run, they’re what’s going to get you ahead.

Photo of busy office courtesy of Hero Images/Getty.

How to improve your computer skills to get ahead in your career

Antonio Neves is the author of Stop Living on Autopilot, host of The Best Thing, podcast and an internationally recognized speaker.

To advance in your career, you need to grow and push yourself. This means constantly learning new things, evolving as a person, and developing both soft and hard skills.

In this article, we’ll cover what hard skills are and which ones you should consider adding to your resume to get to the next level of your career.

What Are The Soft Skills And Hard Skills?

Hard skills are the abilities that can be measured and defined.

Soft skills, on the other hand, are more like personal attributes — they affect your relationships with others and are non-technical.

Companies usually require that you verify your skills through course completion, a diploma, or special training. Some are taught in school but may require further research in order to get familiar with all the various aspects of the topic.

Hard skills are teachable, which makes them accessible to anyone determined to invest the time in developing them.

Soft skills, however, require building habits, self-control, patience, and adapting to the working environment. These are difficult to acquire and even more challenging to change.

For best results, and to land the highest-paying jobs, you’ll need the right combination of both.

What are some good hard skills?

We’ll dive into the most marketable skills below, but to get you started, here are a few that many employers look for on a resume:

  1. Proficiency in foreign language
  2. Data management
  3. Scheduling
  4. Research skills
  5. Team management

How to improve your computer skills to get ahead in your career

What Hard Skills Should I Put On My Resume?

Here are five skills you should consider adding to your resume:

1. Computer savvy

Regardless of what field of work you’re in and how non-tech-savvy you consider yourself, computer knowledge is always one of the top hard skills. The more you improve your computer skills, the better off you’ll be.

Building your computer skills begins with the basics, such as a fast typing speed, knowing Microsoft Office (inside and out), and working with spreadsheets. Then you can add in great Web skills, such as email campaigns and social media.

You should also know how to manage files on the computer, create presentations, and how both software and hardware work (so that you can fix errors without any help).

2. Data management

Every business works with a ton of data. You’ll sometimes end up going through a lot of information, which means you’ll need the ability to navigate through it and extract the essentials. You should also be able to analyze results, understand guidelines and definitions, review them, keep things up to date, and create reports.

3. Scheduling

Scheduling is deciding (and knowing) how to get the job done effectively, what tools to use, and how to organize your time. Even if you’re not a project manager, it’s still a key hard skill (and can be applied to any other area of life). If you can plan and schedule well at work, you’ll be able to manage your time (and life) better as a result.

4. Research

Research skills are something you’ll always need when preparing for a job, getting familiar with a new industry, gathering information, and making a plan on where to begin. Some helpful tips on how to become a better researcher can be found here.

5. Financial planning

There are a great number of hard skills in the finance category, these include: accounting, budgeting, financial planning, cash flow management, and much more. While you won’t necessarily need to master all these, you need to work well with numbers.

The final takeaway

Hard and soft skills together are an ideal combination. These skillsets ensure that you’ll always know how to act according to the situation, communicate clearly, be a great team member, and solve problems easily. It’s the hard skills, however, that require specific knowledge and exercise your brain’s ability to learn.

Learning hard skills rewires the brain and makes us better prepared for what we’re about to experience once we start completing tasks.

With enough time to practice you can become an invaluable asset to any company you apply for.

What abilities would you like to add to your resume to advance in your field? Let us know in the comment section below.

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How to improve your computer skills to get ahead in your career

by Mindvalley
Mindvalley is creating a global school that delivers transformational education for all ages. Powered by community. Fueled by fun. We are dedicated to ensuring that humans live happier, healthier, and more fulfilled lives by plugging in the gaps that conventional education failed to teach us. We do this by organising real-world events around the world and producing world-class quality programmes in several areas of transformation, including mind, body, and performance.

CareerBuilder | February 9, 2021

How to improve your computer skills to get ahead in your career

Highlighting your soft skills will give you a valuable edge over others who are up for the same job.

Soft skills are some of the most difficult competencies for people to understand. Job seekers and hiring managers alike can struggle with the challenge of defining, demonstrating, and recognizing soft skills. Though they’re extremely fluid and highly personalized to each individual, soft skills are a critical component for professional success — and are often the most distinguishing factor between applicants, so make sure you show off your soft skills right.

Understanding soft skills

The term “soft skills” is often difficult to understand. As the name suggests, these skills aren’t as solid and clear-cut as others. Soft skills are also referred to as transferable skills, interpersonal skills, or social skills. Soft skills may include nearly any ability that pertains to the way you approach others or handle your professional life. Soft skills are difficult to measure. There aren’t many tests or professional certifications that will demonstrate your proficiencies in these areas.

Hard skills, in contrast, are those skills that are very easily measured and defined. This includes things like accounting, computer programming, plumbing, or dentistry. You can easily obtain a degree or professional certification in these areas. They’re very teachable, and almost always attainable if you have the means to pursue a formal education in that area.

Hard skills apply to very specific professions. Web design skills aren’t applicable to a career as a surgeon. A nursing education is irrelevant if you’re looking for a job as an electrician. Hard skills lock you into a particular occupation.

On the other hand, soft skills are more flexible and can serve you well in numerous occupations. Though it takes more effort and creativity to properly demonstrate these abilities, they’re valuable to almost any job that you might pursue.


Professionalism is a soft skill that will set you up for success in any field. It acts as the driving force that pushes you to advance in your career. Some key skills that demonstrate your professionalism are self-motivation, work ethic, and resilience. Employees who are very professional are continuously working to improve themselves and their job performance. They’re skilled in time management and organization. They also possess the skills needed to overcome common challenges, such as patience and stress management.

Some accomplishments that demonstrate your professionalism include:

  • Consistently finishing projects ahead of schedule
  • Exceeding the projections for a campaign
  • Demonstrating attention to detail and catching minute errors early in the production process
  • Taking the initiative to go above and beyond what was assigned

Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are another important subset of your soft skills. These skills pertain to how you relate to others, both inside and outside the company. With your co-workers, teamwork and mentoring skills are valuable. When you’re interacting with customers, it’s important to demonstrate perceptiveness and empathy, which will help you understand and resolve their issues.

Demonstrating strong listening skills, emotional intelligence, and communication skills will serve you well no matter who you’re working with. Those who are good at networking are a valuable asset to the company as well.

You can demonstrate your interpersonal skills by:

  • Building strong, ongoing relationships with customers
  • Working collaboratively with your co-workers
  • Leading seminars or providing effective training
  • Maintaining an extensive network of important contacts including vendors, clients, and partners

Leadership and Management Skills

While leadership skills are most relevant to those in a business management job, don’t think that you have to be at the top of the pack to showcase these soft skills. Demonstrating that you’re an effective leader will serve you well in any industry or position. If a hiring manager spots leadership potential, they may keep you at the top of the file for future promotions.

Management competencies are typically considered soft skills because they’re so difficult to measure. Good managers are skilled with problem solving and project management. They’re usually good at performing essential research and analytics. Strong leaders also know how to handle interpersonal issues that arise with those around them. They have critical observation skills that help them identify problems as well as conflict resolution skills to help them skillfully mediate disagreements.

Some accomplishments that will showcase your leadership and management skills include:

  • Successfully heading a major project with several others on your team
  • Skillfully delegating responsibilities to others
  • Identifying difficult problems and implementing innovative solutions with measurable results
  • Overseeing sales and marketing campaigns

Soft skills examples

It’s more difficult to feature soft skills on a resume than it is to highlight your hard skills. However, soft skills are just as important to potential employers. While all the applicants for a marketing manager job are likely to have college degrees in marketing, not all of them will have the same set of soft skills to bring to the job. This is truly where you can distinguish yourself from the competition.

Don’t simply list off your soft skills without providing some measure of proof to back up your statements. Anyone can say that they have strong communication skills. Demonstrate yours by highlighting projects that required you communicate effectively with a diverse group of people. With soft skills, it’s more important to show than it is to tell. Include measurable details wherever possible.

  • How many new clients did you land with your networking skills?
  • How much did you improve productivity with your problem-solving talents?

While training for soft skills is more difficult to come by, it does exist in some cases. If you’ve attended a workshop or seminar to help you develop a soft skill, don’t hesitate to feature these 4 items on your resume. Not only will it demonstrate your expertise in that area, it will show that you recognize the importance of oft-overlooked skill sets and have dedicated yourself to making improvements in these areas.

Your soft skills can make the difference between a lackluster interview and one that lands you the job. Make sure you take the time to identify your strengths in these areas so you can shine a bright spotlight on the soft skills that make you stand out the most.

The Most Valuable Career Skills for 2021

The job market is always evolving. As some occupations lose popularity, others gain an edge. Regardless of the field you’re in, having certain career skills can make a difference in your success. Knowing which qualities are most in-demand can be helpful as you carve out your career path.

Key Takeaways:

  • Healthcare is a field offering tremendous opportunities in terms of job growth.
  • Sustainable energy and statistics are also fields where jobs are expected to increase through 2029.
  • Tech skills such as computer programming and network engineering remain a top sought-after skill by companies.
  • Soft skills are also important and highly sought after by employers.

Job and Skills Trends

By 2029, the fastest-growing occupation is expected to be wind turbine service technician. The third-fastest growing occupation is solar voltaic installer.

In addition to clean energy-related jobs, healthcare is an area of rapid occupational growth. Six out of 10 of the fastest-growing occupations are healthcare-related. They are nurse practitioners, occupational therapy assistants, home health and personal care aides, physical therapy assistants, medical and health service managers, and physicians assistants.

Statisticians and information security analysts are also careers listed on the top 10 fastest-growing occupations list, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections.  

Many of the highest-paying jobs are positions that require a significant amount of education, professional training, and advanced skills.

So, which career skills will improve your chances of success in these fields?

Tech Skills Are Highly Valued Across Multiple Industries

Tech skills are hot commodities among employees, and their application isn’t limited to the tech industry. Tech-savvy workers are highly suited to most industries including healthcare and finance. Possessing a technical skillset can lead to a higher-paying position.

Jennifer Liu listed 10 most popular tech skills of 2020 for CNBC. The top four prized tech skills included:

1. Python: A programming language used in software development, infrastructure management, and data analysis.

2. React (web): A JavaScript library for building user interfaces.

3. Angular: A JavaScript-based open-source front-end web framework.

4. Machine learning: The scientific study of algorithms and statistical models.  

According to CRN, a media site for technology and IT news, the average annual pay in the U.S. technology industry reached $94,000 in 2019, which was a year-over-year increase of just 1.3%.   However, CRN reported that people with technical skills in Apache, AWS, Cloudera, Chef, SAP HANA, and Platform-as-a-Service saw double-digit percent salary increases.

While these tech skills are relevant to roles like tech management, systems architects, and security engineers, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. For example, data analytics is an increasingly significant component of healthcare as more healthcare providers move to digital record keeping. Software programmers and developers are also needed to create the software programs used to manage patient data and healthcare records.

Tech is also reshaping the finance industry, with demand rising for project managers, software operations specialists, application developers, business intelligence specialists, and statisticians. Data analysis and software skills are also essential in fields that don’t fit the tech mold, such as human resources.

Soft Skills Still Carry Weight With Employers

While technical skills are important, employers don’t have tunnel vision when considering which workers to hire. Soft skills, which are often influenced more by personality than education or training, are still a priority in the workforce.

In a 2020 LinkedIn survey, soft skills were high on the list of job requirements for prospective hires. Skills include:

  • Creativity
  • Persuasion
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Emotional intelligence  

According to, oral, and written communication skills are the most important soft skills to possess.   Other soft skills that employers look for are the following:

  • Leadership
  • Attention to detail
  • Problem-solving

The industries likely to place the highest value on soft skills include hospitality, customer service, professional training and coaching, retail, and sports. Unfortunately, jobs in this industry have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 epidemic.

The Bottom Line

Developing both your hard and soft skills will boost your marketability to potential employers. It’s almost a certainty that tech skills will continue to be highly sought after, but other skills like being able to communicate effectively, being mindful of details, and staying organized aren’t likely to go out of style any time soon. The key to getting ahead is finding the right balance and targeting the skills that are most valued in your chosen field.

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  • If you have some extra time, consider investing in your career development.
  • Experts advise taking online courses and volunteering virtually to help a cause you care about.
  • It’s also wise to get your job-search materials in order, so that you won’t be scrambling if you wind up needing them.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

In the era of social isolation, a lot of people have some extra time on their hands.

That could be simply because they’re no longer commuting to an office or meeting up with friends at restaurants. The cause could also be more distressing: They’re among the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs in the last few weeks or their work hours have been reduced.

Let’s be clear. In the short term, losing some or all of your wages can be devastating. And some people may have more free time than others right now, depending on how much responsibility they have at home.

But in the long run, getting back a couple hours every week can be the best thing to happen in your career. If you’re “safe and comfortable and suddenly have time on your hands, this is a golden opportunity,” said Amanda Augustine, a career-advice expert at resume-writing service TopResume.

We asked Augustine and other career experts how to make the most of the extra time. They said it’s crucial to prepare for your next career move by reconnecting with old colleagues, dusting off your portfolio, and honing the job skills you’ll need to get ahead.

Break your long-term goal into bite-sized tasks

Fred Goff, the cofounder and CEO of Jobcase, or “LinkedIn for blue-collar workers,” said every professional should have a “magnetic North star,” or a long-term career goal that guides all their current efforts.

Let’s say yours is to become an electrician. The first thing to do, Goff said, is to pinpoint one task that you can accomplish in the next two weeks that will get you closer to that goal. Maybe that task involves taking an online course or setting up calls with two people in your professional network who have similar roles. Once you’ve completed that task, you can move onto the next.

Reflect on your past performance

Take a look at the goals that you set for yourself, or that your manager set for you, and pinpoint where you exceeded or fell short. That way you have a sense of the skills you still need to develop and the areas where you could improve.

Then think back on a year ago, Augustine said. Where did you think you’d be today? How is your current situation different, and why?

Prepare your job-search materials

Even if you haven’t lost your employment, keep in mind that the best time to prepare to look for a new job is when you don’t desperately need to.

Goff recommends using this time to brush up your resume and ask colleagues for references. If a new opportunity comes up — or worse comes to worst, you lose your current employment — you’ll have those materials ready instead of scrambling to gather them the night before a job interview.

Augustine tells clients to take the opportunity to update their “brag book.” That’s a hard copy or digital collection of your professional accomplishments, plus the praise you’ve received from managers and clients. “That information is going to be the fodder you need when you want to negotiate for a raise or a promotion,” Augustine said, regardless of whether you stick with your current employer.

Keep a copy of your brag book on your personal computer, Augustine cautioned, just in case.

Learn something new — and it doesn’t have to be directly relevant to your job

If you decide to take a course on a topic that is directly related to your job, consider pursuing a side project based on what you’re studying. Augustine used the hypothetical example of a software engineer who builds an app using the new type of code they learned.

Network strategically

There are plenty of opportunities to connect virtually with people who have the same interests that you do.

Jaime Klein, CEO of the human-resources consultancy Inspire Human Resources said volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about is a great way to meet like-minded people — many of whom would be happy to help you with your next move. One possibility Klein mentioned is tutoring students via videoconference in a subject you specialize in. Another option is working as a counselor for people in crisis.

Try to develop a growth mindset

“Growth mindset” is a term popularized by Stanford developmental psychologist Carol Dweck. People with a growth mindset think skills can be developed through hard work and see challenges as an opportunity to learn. (People with a fixed mindset, on the other hand, think talent is innate and see mistakes as failures.)

In recent years, business leaders like Microsoft’s Satya Nadella have used Dweck’s findings to cultivate a love of learning and trying new things among their employees.

Klein said developing a growth mindset is the best way to thrive in the current economy. Employers want people who can “pivot” easily, she said, as their organization and industry evolves. Indeed, leaders at companies from snack giant Mondelez to apparel company Canada Goose have told Business Insider they look for people who take an entrepreneurial approach to their work and aren’t afraid of change.

This is an ideal moment “for people who do really well with uncertainty and without there being a really clear paved road,” Klein said.

Focus more on the companies you’d like to work for than the specific job function

Goff tells job-seekers to worry less about the specific job they apply for (provided they’re at least somewhat qualified and interested in the work) and to focus more on finding a company they could thrive in. “You can bet on yourself and get ahead” within that organization once you’ve gotten a foot in the door, Goff said.

In fact, LinkedIn research suggests that internal mobility — switching jobs or teams within the same organization — is on the rise across industries.

Don’t take your job security for granted

Goff doesn’t think anyone should take their job security for granted these days. Even if you’re currently employed, it’s worth thinking through what you did if you were suddenly unemployed, or if your job function had to change entirely.

“In the new world of work, you have to manage your own career,” Goff said. “You’re not going to have the luxury of having someone in the corner office telling you, ‘Here’s what you’re going to do next year and the year after and the year after.’ You’ve got to figure it out yourself.”

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Problem solving, oral communications and adaptability are essential for getting hired and promoted.

Photo courtesy of Startup Stock Photos

“When we’re talking about a promotion, we’re talking about managing others,” says Susan Vitale, workplace expert and chief marketing officer at iCIMS. Soft skills such as oral communications, adaptability and problem solving become more important as you manage others, make more decisions and lead cross-functional teams, she says.

The report is based on an online survey of 400 HR/recruiting professionals conducted by Wakefield Research between June 22 and July 3, 2017. The report finds that 58% of recruiting professionals believe soft skills are more important for leadership and management positions than for entry-level positions. For senior leadership, recruiting professionals rank problem solving (38 percent) as the most important soft skill, followed by oral communication (26 percent) and adaptability (17 percent).

There is an important distinction to be made between hard skills (the technical know-how to do your job) and soft skills (the way in which you do your job). “Hard skills might get your resume looked at,” she says. “Soft skills will help you stand out and get you hired by that recruiter or promoted by your manager but soft skills alone won’t get you the job.”

However, soft skills will become increasingly important as jobs become more automated . “When it comes to managing an entry-level employee or leading a project across many departments, a robot can’t do that,” Vitale says.

For instance, recruiters and managers are looking for people who can clearly articulate their point, are able to define what they want to get out of a conversation or a meeting and be honest when something goes wrong with a project, she says. Recruiters and managers are also looking for people who can lead, who believe in the message they are delivering, can see the bigger picture and can roll with be punches. For instance, Vitale says, can you demonstrate that you’re willing to help train new people or learn a new software program?

If you’re asking for a promotion, Vitale suggests highlighting your ability to collaborate, problem solve and communicate. If you’re applying for a job at a startup, highlight your adaptability and problem solving skills. “Be honest about the soft skills you aren’t strong in,” she says.

Failing to show soft skills at a job interview can cost you the job. According to the report, 75% of recruiting professionals have cut an interview short because a candidate didn’t demonstrate the soft skills needed for the position they had applied for.

It is possible to learn to improve your soft skills, Vitale says. Find a mentor who excels in an area you find challenging such as leading people or problem solving and ask them for help. Tell them you’d like to learn how they get up in front of the room and lead people or how they are able to let everything roll off their backs. “The fact that you are seeking out help gives you marks in the soft skills even if you don’t have them all today,” she says.

There are also free online resources for learning soft skills such as MaxKnowlege, Udemy and Coursera. Many organizations offer internal training programs that teach soft skills as well, Vitale says. “Employees often turn up their noses at HR training but it could be very valuable,” she says.

If you want to improve your work-skills, check these out.

Heading back to school is the easiest way to make more money at the job that you already have. Getting certified in your craft allows you to gain experience in your field, while working towards a higher salary.

The best part? You might never have to step into a classroom. Many certification program can be done online. Many of these programs are designed to help business professionals get ahead in their careers without having to sacrifice their time at work. So, go ahead, and head back to school. It’s the best thing you can do for your career and your bank account.

1. Project Management Professional (PMP)

There are very few careers out there that cannot be improved by project management experience or a Project Management Professional certification. This certification shows that you know how to manage others, strategize multifaceted variables, and implement a project from start to finish.

This certification is very attractive for employers, as it shows that you can handle yourself in any leadership position. The Project Management Institute (PMI) hosts the certification, and is eligible to anyone with project management experience.

According to Huffington Post, those with this certificate can earn nine percent more for their salary than those without the certificate.

2. LEED Accredited Professionals

If you’re working in construction, building management, or interior design, then you should definitely look into becoming a LEED Accredited Professional. LEED, Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, works to educate certificate recipients on eco-friendly strategies and practices to implement in the world of housing and design.

The certificate can not only boost your credibility, but the credibility of your designs and your buildings. In fact, those with LEED certifications are likely to earn twelve percent more than those without the certificate, according to the experts at

3. Adobe Certified Associate

In many professions, graphic design is a preferred skill for most job candidates and professionals.

Up your current skill level by registering to be an Adobe Certified Associate. The program will educate you in all Adobe software such as Photoshop and Illustrator, and help you to stand out against many entry-level candidates.

4. Microsoft Office Specialist

Microsoft Office is integral for any office job. Become an expert at the software by working towards a specialty certificate. It’ll allow you to have the perfect edge in the administrative world as well as help you boost your salary.

5. Certified Public Accountant

Did you get your Bachelor’s Degree in accounting? Boost your resume even further by working towards becoming a certified public accountant. This certificate helps those in the finance world land amazing jobs, and work towards their ultimate career goals.

Plus, certified accountant tend to earn thirty-five percent more than their uncertified counterparts.

6. Chartered Financial Analyst

Looking to manage financial portfolios or work in investment analysis? Show off your financial background by working towards a Charted Financial Analyst certificate. The program does wonders for your career, and not to mention your salary.

7. Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)

Boost your computer networking skills by becoming a Cisco Certified Network Professional. It’s great for those working in IT, who want to learn more about routing and switching scalable networks.