4 “Must-Have” Skills Needed to Get Ahead in 2013

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Skills You Need to Get Ahead in the Months to Come!

According to The Wall Street Journal article, “Must-Have” Skills in 2013, it is going to take more than just your basic competency to get ahead in 2013. The bar has been raised and the expectations have been set high.

As 2013 quickly approaches, many people think, new year, new job. Businesses are challenged to work smarter. We will see employers still watching their spending.

To do more, with less, has never been truer. This mentality bleeds over to their hiring decisions as they seek top performers with a greater mix of skills.

What does this mean for those wanting to win a promotion, change jobs, or simply to get a job?

To land that job or win that big promotion next year, you are going to need to offer an employer more than just the basic skills. You’re going to have to do much more!

For example, to land a pharmaceutical sales job, you must realize you are competing with hundreds, possibly thousands of resumes. Everyone is competing for the same position. Most of those applying do not meet the minimum expectations. For those that do, this is what they need to just get their foot in the door:

  • A B.A. degree, preferably science or business.
  • A clean criminal and driving record.
  • A minimum of 2 years sales experience with the proven ability to promote and sell products and services. B2B sales are preferred.
  • History of achievement with well documented record of your accomplishments
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Planning and organizing skills

These are what everyone truly being considered for the position must have to be a contender. However, to land the job, you will need much more than this. These are the basics. These could be the requirements for many types of jobs.

However, the standard has been raised higher. You must bring more to the negotiating table than these skills and experiences if you wish to land one of these highly competitive jobs.

What are the skills needed to move your career forward? If basic competencies aren’t enough, what are the skills that will benefit both the job seeker and the ambitious professional anticipating a big promotion in the days to come?

We are going to consider a few skills that some are touting as essential to our career advancement.

Four “Must-Have” Skills Needed to Get Ahead

The Wall Street Journal article, highlights four key skills experts say are worth our attention going into the new year. Experts say, the four must-have job skills for 2013 are: communication skills, personal branding, flexibility, and productivity improvement.

Why are these skills so essential to our career growth? Let’s find out.

1. Communication Skills

Are you able to articulate a clear and concise personal brand message? Are you able to connect with others through communication? Are you able to give a presentation?

The ability to effectively communicate has been a distinguishing characteristic for professionals for many years. Communication skills are must-have leadership skills. It is very difficult for any professional to move their career forward without the ability to connect with customers, colleagues, managers, and friends.

The article, mentions a clue into why this is a skill that is still front and center. As strange as it may sound, many are losing their ability to effectively communicate. This stems from a generation that has grown up feasting on Facebook and Twitter Status Updates. I don’t know many business letters that can be written in only 140 characters.

Many are weak in the skill of conversation and dialog. Many are good at “telling” and “sharing” to their social network the insignificant personal details of their daily routine, like “I eat a Pop Tart for breakfast this morning and I was late for work due to traffic.”

However, when required to deliver a persuasive presentation to a customer or potential client, they seem to find themselves searching for more words. When the iPhone screen is replaced with an actual human face, many are suddenly keenly aware of their lack of skill in the other areas of communication, like body language, vocal tone, and inflection.

Want to stand out in an interview?

Master the ability to clearly and concisely communicate your career experience. Share stories of accomplishment with enthusiasm and purpose. Know what you want and be able to clearly communicate how you plan to get there. The hiring manager remembers these kinds of candidates.

Why? Because they stand out from all the candidates that were undecided and lacking passion.

Regardless of professional goals and career aspirations, the professional will want to pay careful attention to strengthen the communication muscle. Know how to communicate what makes you unique and why that is of value to the organization that hires you, or the company in which you currently work. For those looking for job, good communication could be a decisive factor in this tough market.

Those must-have communication skills are essential to effectively communicating our personal brand, which is the second must-have skill experts see as vital to getting ahead in 2013.


2. Personal Branding

The time is now for you to pay attention to your personal brand. If you aren’t familiar with this concept, I strongly encourage you to make yourself familiar with the importance “your brand” is going to have on your job search or success at landing that promotion.

  • Why is your personal brand so important for your career advancement?
  • Why is your personal brand so important to your employer?
  • Why is your future success dependent on the strength of your personal brand?

First, let’s get something straight. This is not about some narcissistic creation of a personal website, logo, and tagline, rather this is about you knowing yourself, your skills, and abilities so well that you can effectively communicate a focused, powerful personal value proposition that resonates with your target market.  

Your Personal brand asks these questions of you:


What makes YOU different?

Tom Peters, management guru, and the one credited with starting the personal branding revolution, challenges each of us to see ourselves as a brand. 

Do it. Right now. Start today thinking of yourself differently! Don’t think of yourself as an “employee of ABC Company, or a “sales director”, “human resource”, “worker”. Your worth isn’t tied to a specific company, because your connection to that company isn’t likely to be life-long. Not in this economy with so many layoffs and downsizing. Tom Peters said it this way, “you’re not defined by your job title and you’re not confined by your job description.


“You’re not defined by your job title and you’re not confined by your job description. -Tom Peters


Ask yourself the same questions every brand manager asks himself or herself about the company brand they represent. Regardless of if you are Starbucks, Nike, or Bob Evens you will ask,

  • What is it that my product or service does that produces a service that makes a difference?
Then, consider these thoughts on personal branding.

What makes you distinctive?

Start by identifying those qualities, characteristics and unique abilities that make you distinctive from your competitors — or even your colleagues. What have you done lately — this week — to make yourself stand out? What would your colleagues or your customers say is your greatest and clearest strength?

What do you do that adds remarkable value?

Forget your job title. Ask yourself: What do I do that adds remarkable, measurable, distinguished, distinctive value?  If you’re going to be a brand, you’ve got to become relentlessly focused on what you do that adds value, that you’re proud of, and most important, that you can shamelessly take credit for.

What do you want to be remembered for by those around you? It is the answer to these questions that begins to define your personal brand. But, why does this matter so much to your potential employer? Why would your current organization care so much about your personal brand?

What Does Your Brand Reputation Say About You?

Online Identity

Employers are searching social media sites and “googling” you, and it is so important that they are impressed with what they see.


“It won’t be enough to simply have a social media profile. You will need more than just an online presence. You will need an online identity that represents you and reflects well on your employer.” – WSJ


What Skills Do Your Brand Demonstrate?

Your skills used in communicating and building your personal brand are skills that translate over into any industry or position.

Think about it. If you can’t represent your personal brand effectively, how confident should an employer be that you have the skills to represent the organizations brand? On the flip side, if you are able to create an impressive personal brand that is genuine and offers a unique value proposition, what does that say about your ability to create an impressive company brand.

What Does Your Brand Say About Your Ability to Communicate?

What better way is there to demonstrate who you are and your ability to clearly communicate and represent a brand, than by demonstrating what you can do with your own personal brand?

Branding is a fundamental skill every employee must embrace. Branding isn’t only for marketers, because you are the brand representative to every customer you serve. If you are in leadership, you are the company brand to those you manage and lead.


“Your ability to brand you is a sort of job interview that examines your ability to effectively represent something.


3. Flexibility

Change is the norm, not the exception today. It is important for workers to learn to be flexible when they are faced with change. Every business needs those who can adapt to change and not break due to inflexibility. Being flexible keeps you from getting broken and going insane, because change is inevitable.

Ask yourself:

  • How well do you adapt to customers to better respond their needs?
  • How quickly are you to respond to the many challenges facing the organization?
  • Are you quick to learn new skills and open to new ways to acquire those skills?

4. Productivity Improvement

When staffing is lean and the economic times are tight, you shouldn’t be surprised employers are going to be looking for greater productivity across the board. To simply do your job is not enough, because executives are expecting a 20% improvement in performance.

In 2013, workers should find new ways to increase productivity, experts say. Executives are looking for a 20% improvement in employee performance next year from current levels, according to a recent survey by the Corporate Executive Board, an Arlington, Va., business research and advisory firm.”

  • Do you volunteer for projects?
  • Do you offer input and solutions to business needs?
  • Do you take initiative, or do you wait to be told what to do?
  • Are you seen as being highly engaged in your work?

The improvement in productivity is expected of hiring managers too.

Ben Dattner, an organizational psychologist in New York says, “As the economy turns around, companies will have to work harder to retain talented employees. Companies have trimmed the fat, and now they have to build the muscle.”

Top companies were interviewed about their success rate in hiring top talent. It was anything but impressive. Only 25% of the time did these companies correctly select and hire a top performer. The rest of the time, the persons hired were either mediocre or lacked STAR Power. 75% of the time the person hired didn’t live up to expectations.

It’s so bad; most companies’ loosely measure their success rate at hiring top talent, even though they often have a KPI for most other metrics.

During these turbulent times, all employees are expected to increase their engagement, increase their productivity, which will be essential to being considered for a potential promotion.

Promotions will be earned. No handouts in 2013. If you are campaigning for that big promotion next year, the influence of your personal brand and your ability to communicate the value you bring to any organization, will be needed to reinforce your efforts and demonstrate proof you are worth every penny of it.

“Companies have trimmed the fat, and now they have to build the muscle.”

2013 is right around the corner. Times have changed and every business is challenged to change with it. If the experts are right, strengthen you communication skills and put some extra effort into the building of your personal brand.

Develop the maturity to adapt to all the many changes so that while others are stressed about the shake up in your department, you will have found away to make it work for you and increase your productivity along the way. Your impact on the company’s bottom line will capture the attention of those in leadership. They would be silly not to reward you with that much-earned promotion.

Congratulations! Looks like 2013 will be a good year for you. 


Call Now to speak with Brent Wells, Certified Personal Branding Strategist, about how you can get started today with developing your personal brand. 


To learn more, Download the Free Ebook: An Introduction to Personal Branding


Personal Branding Expert Brent Wells uses the power of personal branding to create business and online opportunities for entrepreneurs who want more publicity, prospects and profits. Now, he’s revealing his top secrets to building a personal brand so you can boost your website traffic, get more leads and create multiple, profitable streams of income.

Go to www.sayitcommunications.com and let Brent teach you step-by-step, to leverage your brand to profits! 

Mantell, R.”Must-Have Job Skills in 2013.” The Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2012. Retrieved: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324735104578118902763095818.html

TOM PETERS, The Brand Called YOU, Fast Company, AUGUST 31, 1997

Retrieved: http://www.fastcompany.com/28905/brand-called-you

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