Learning How to Enhance Marketability to Reach Career Goals
Employees who want to improve their marketability need to understand their career goals and then plan how to develop the skills necessary to get the job done.
People into sports already understand how training helps improve their athletic ability. But this same concept can also help employees by improving their marketability in the workplace. That is, their marketable job skills.
Just as exercise can provide athletes with a total-body tune-up by strengthening their heart, bones, muscles, and joints, exercising a mind and flexing skills by learning new processes and tasks can lead to an overall improvement in an employeeâ€™s ability to perform on the job.
Consider this: an athlete preparing her body for competition might cross train by performing several types of exercise either in a single workout or in successive workouts. For instance, a runner stretches prior to her daily run, but may also lift weights, ride a bicycle, or even swim at regular intervals to help build strength and stamina.
In this same way, employees need to think of themselves as business athletes training for a future event. Not only should they tone their current skills, but they should stretch themselves by working on skills they use less frequently or not at all.
Determine Career Goals
The best place for employees to begin is by determining their career goals. That means understanding what they want to achieve and how they plan to do it.
For some people, this may be a slam dunk. They know what they like and what specific skills they need to reach their goals. For others it may take some time and a little self examination to determine where their interests, abilities and strengths lie.
But by creating a list of possibilities, talking to respected friends, family members and colleagues, and doing a little research, employees can then identify the right career path and skills required to reach their goal.
Define a Skill
Since skills come from a variety of sources â€“ academic, work and life experiences â€“ it is important for employees to identify what skills they currently possess and what skills they will need to develop in order to reach their career goals.
This list of skills might include learned skills such as specific computer software, actual hands-on work experience, the ability to master presentations or lead others as well as soft skills like building relationships and improving time management skills.
Develop a Plan
The final step in the process is for employees to determine how they will develop these skills by outlining a plan containing short- and long-term objectives.
This plan might include participating in on-the-job training programs, internships, externships, volunteer opportunities, college or technical courses, mentoring or even in-house training and development.
Because dreaming is easier than reality savvy employees know it's important to commit their career goals to writing and to make them reachable and time sensitive.
It's all about understanding which skills will help further an employeeâ€™s career and then planning how to develop or enhance those skills further. While it will take time and effort to develop and implement a plan, in the end it can lead to improved marketability in the workplace.
Deborah S. Hildebrand