Make Yourself Competitive: Skill 1

– A word from Gradlinc by Lizane Fuzy

Work on your Learnability

The short version refers to how quickly you can adapt to changes around you and increase your efficiency with said changes.  Basically, how quickly can you learn new things?

Probably one of the best ways to stay relevant and competitive in the market is to work on your learnability. Whereas in the old days you were expected to be an expert in your field, the focus seems to be shifting more favourably towards those who can do many things well instead of just doing one thing well. Not only does it give you a bit of an edge because you can problem-solve uniquely with your specific set of skills, but employers also love the diversity because you can cover other aspects of the business where they would normally have to appoint someone just for that task.

You could spend your evenings out partying and socialising with friends or binge-watch ‘The Umbrella Academy’ with popcorn and slushies. Or you can devote two nights to upskill yourself in some way. Think about your hobbies and how your hobbies could add value to your everyday work perhaps. Or go to the library and read up on a topic you find interesting so that you can start understanding more about it.

There is a very famous saying by Jerry Rice:

“Today I will do what others won’t so tomorrow I can do what others can’t.”

It doesn’t have to be something special; the idea is to train your brain to learn new things so that you can become better and faster at it as you keep practicing. It will only benefit you in the long run in your career. If the promotion is between yourself and a colleague with the same qualification and background, the one that will stand out is the one that showed how quickly they mastered the software programme you are all working on and spent some time designing a couple of extra templates. What impresses an employer is not how cool the design is for instance, it is the initiative and ability of the employee to master a new skill and apply that skill to enhance his productivity or work quality. Remember that there is no shame in using Google. I promise you that more than half of employees spent most of their first couple of weeks (or even months) on Google to understand certain aspects of their new jobs or just brush up on their knowledge. It doesn’t mean you are not capable, it means you are smart enough to use the tools available to you to be more efficient. You can spend 10 minutes trying to figure out an Excel formula and miss the deadline. Or you can just Google it in 2 minutes, write it down in your notebook so you remember it next time, spend 3 minutes setting it up in Excel and have 5 minutes to spare to have a quick cup of coffee!

This all comes down to learnability and that practice makes perfect. What you practice today, can change the world for you tomorrow. And the more you learn, the better you become at learning new things. The more things you know, the better chances you have to stay competitive. The more competitive you are, the better your chances of landing great opportunities that will catapult your career forward.

It all starts with an attitude and adaptation – a willingness to learn and master a skill one at a time until you become so versatile that it becomes your unique value-add to any company that hires you.

Inspired by an article published in Forbes and written by Natalie Peart: The 12 Most Important Skills You Need To Succeed At Work.

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