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Once a year it’s a good idea to do an assessment of your skills. If you had to reinvent yourself tomorrow because there were no longer any jobs in your field, what would you become? Knowing what your skills are and keeping them current is the first place to start.

There’s no doubt that computer skills rank the highest on your list, no matter what your job. Basic word processing is mandatory for even receptionist positions. Can you do mail merges? Write effective e-mail messages? Good spelling and punctuation are always key skills. Brush up on them if you need to. There are plenty of classes given by vendors and local schools to get you up to speed.

Are you Internet savvy? This means that you can navigate easily around the web to find information. You know how to use the advanced features on search engines to quickly get what you need. With billions of web sites you could take hours looking for important information about clients, competitors, trends, etc. Being efficient is important. Why not take a webinar on this topic?
Of course, if you need to know database software or keep track of budgets on accounting software, be sure you know how to use many of the features of those programs. They, too, can save you time and put your skills ahead of someone who just knows the basics. Computer schools and community colleges are good sources for these classes.

Are you a savvy networker? Being able to meet and greet prospects and clients is an important skill for everyone. Knowing what to say to break the ice and how to close a conversation are the basics. The more you practice, the better you get, so put your best foot forward and get out there and network. For pointers, try seminars given by Chambers of Commerce or adult education groups.

How are your negotiating skills? Need to ask for a raise? Trying to get the best price on equipment you need to purchase? If you never learned the ins and outs of negotiation, there’s no time like the present to brush up on your skills. You can use this one when you’re buying a car, negotiating a lease on an apartment – the uses are endless. Again, check the adult ed catalogs.

Know a foreign language? As the global community shrinks with the use of the Internet you can be a real asset to a company with your language skills. Cultural understanding is also critical for doing business with other countries. Get your feet wet by attending international festivals and taking foreign language and culture classes through community education.

Of course, if you have any credentials that need updating, keeping them current is important, too. Learn from professional associations what the latest skills are for your particular industry – and be sure you meet the specs.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you know and what you can do after this little self-assessment. Update your résumé and you’re ready to reinvent yourself if the need arises.

For more information, send e-mail to [email protected]

Cannon Career Development, Inc.
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

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