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Six life-changing skills that will make or break your career

Written by

Dr. Ree Langham

Date

April 25, 2018

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Did you know that most Americans spend only slightly less time working than they do sleeping? Well, it is true! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American adults spend approximately 8.77 hours, per day, snoozing, and 8.28 hours, per day, working. But, it doesn’t take a “rocket scientist” to figure out that most people spend their days fluctuating between sleeping and working – with grooming, interacting with others, eating, cleaning their homes, shopping, surfing the net, talking on the phone, and having sex – thrown in for good measure.

With all that working, you’d think most people must really enjoy their jobs, but, sadly, that’s not the case. In fact, according to a recent Gallup poll, approximately 51 percent of people are indifferent towards their jobs. In other words, they are only at their jobs to gain a paycheck, thus, they only do the “bare minimum” at work. Another 16 percent, however, are completely “disconnected” from their jobs, meaning that they actively resent, hate, abhor, and complain about their jobs on a regular basis. You know – the perpetual “Debbie Downers,” who constantly gripe about how terrible their jobs are – leading to poor morale throughout the departments.  

The truth is when you are dissatisfied with your job, your risk for developing depression and anxiety doubles. That is why it is so important to choose a job that will make you happy – a job that you look forward to going to everyday. So, what’s the best way to find a job that will put a Kool-Aid smile on your face? Well, one sure fire way to get that “dream job” is to enroll for the College Mouse Keys to Career Success Training course. The course is designed to help people just like you find a career or job that highlights your strengths and showcases your talents, regardless of whether you are just starting out or seeking out a new career avenue. Another great option is to seek the services of a career counselor. 

Regardless of what path you choose to follow, there a few life-changing skills that you will need. Most, if not all, can transfer from job-to-job. Score! So, what are these life-changing skills? Well, keep reading and you’ll find out.

Valuable Time Management Skills

One of the most important life-changing skills you need to master is how to better manage your time aka valuable time management skills. You may not know this, but one of the hallmark signs of a successful person is good time management skills.

In other words, the most successful people in the world – i.e. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and the “Sharks” on Shark Tank – all have one key thing in common – they know how to manage their time well. They flee from procrastination like their lives depend on it. And, as a result, they have a good reputation for being on time and professional.

Bonus: Time management skills are important for all areas of your life, from personal goals and relationships to accomplishing tasks like grocery shopping and house-cleaning.

Effective Communication

How can you be successful in life, let alone a career, if you don’t know how to communicate? Sorry, but, the truth is – you can’t. However, if you not a big communicator, don’t fret, you aren’t doomed for a dead-end job doing something you hate. And, on the flip side, if you’re an “over-communicator”, you will need to learn how to “tone it down” a bit.

To be successful in your career, you will need to learn how to wind down word speech, zero in on the correct responses, and craft interview answers that will have an employer thinking about you long after the interview has ended. These are the top five communication skills needed for success – (1) listening, (2) non-verbal gestures (i.e. eye contact & body language), (3), clarity, (4) friendliness, and (5) confidence.

Bonus: Effective communication is not only important at work, it’s essential in relationships (especially friendships and “coupledoms”), and for self-esteem/personal development and self-expression.

Exceptional Organizational Skills

How organized are you? Not much? Well, you do need to improve your organizational skills, so that the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind is, “Wow! You have exceptional organizational skills!” Now, you don’t have to be obsessive about it, however, being organized will help you snag – and keep that dream job you’ve wanted for a while. It can also help you shine amongst your co-workers, leading, hopefully, to a whopping good promotion.

Bonus: It can also help strengthen your relationships. How? Well, let’s say your BFF is having a birthday shindig and he/she has asked you to plan and/or host it. If you have exceptional organizational skills, you will be able to pull off your “many” tasks, so your best friend has the time of his/her life. If you are disorganized, however, his/her celebration will quickly turn into one hot mess. So, organizational skills will not only garner you some kudos from a potential employer or current boss (for always having your “stuff” together), it will also help you gain a reputation of being “dependable.”

Excellent Networking Skills

How good are you at networking? Mediocre? Bad? Well, if networking is not in your repertoire of skills, that’s a problem. To up your game, start by taking a few small steps. Learn how to introduce yourself to people, who can help you get where you want to get in your career. The trick is to come up with an elevator pitch about yourself that is short, compelling and likely to leave a lasting impression on others, so when your dream job becomes available they naturally think of you.

Bonus: Excellent networking skills can also help you gain life-long friends, who share the same interests (career-wise & personal) and passions as you. Score! Therefore, networking is a highly valuable skill that can lead you to success, both at home and at work.

Remarkable Resume Writing & Interviewing Skills

“I don’t want a ‘killer’ resume and mind-blowing interviewing skills” said no one EVER. The first thing an employer sees, when considering potential employees, is a resume. So, if your resume sucks then it’s probably going to get tossed unceremoniously in the trash. Ouch. Employees like organized, efficient, and error-free resumes that are easy to read and concise. If your resume is too cluttered, too long, or laden with grammatical errors and graphics, you probably won’t get the job.

The good news is that it is relatively easy to get help. A  career counselor, for example, can help you avoid these types of errors, so your resume – and career doesn’t end up in the dump. He/she will review your current resume, and highlight areas of strength and areas that need improvement, so your resume gets a second look. He/she will also help you spiff up your interviewing skills, so you impress potential employers.

Truth-be-told, interviewing for a job can be taxing, confusing, and tricky. How much should you say? What should you say? What about that deceiving “weakness” question – how should you answer that? Well, a career counselor can teach you remarkable interviewing skills, so you wow the employer.

Bonus: Remarkable resume and interviewing skills may also help you land the woman or man of your dreams. Who doesn’t like a partner, who has a good job and who can communicate well? No one. These interviewing skills may even come in handy on dates, as you get to know a potential partner.

Outstanding Adaptation & Conflict Resolution Skills

Last, but by no means least, you need to be able to adapt to new situations and know how to deescalate or resolve conflicts that arise at work and/or at home. Have you taken any classes on stress-management techniques? If not, start with those. And then, over time watch how colleagues and leaders around you handle difficult situations. There is a lot you can learn by simply observing how others adapt to new situations and resolve conflicts as soon as they arise.

More often than not, the people who succeed in life have mastered these life-changing skills. And the great thing is that these are skills that you will carry with you throughout life. 

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Written by:  Dr. Ree Langham

Dr. R. Y. Langham holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Fisk University, a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) in Marriage and Family Therapy from Trevecca Nazarene University, and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology from Capella University. She is currently a medical, health & wellness contributor, copywriter, researcher and psychological consultant for Livestrong magazine, Upwork, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of TN, and Disorders.org.

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