December, 2012 — Issue 154
Job Skills Employers Will Look for in 2013
Even as employers remain cautious next year about every dollar spent on employees, they’ll also want workers to show greater skills and results, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal. For employees who want to get ahead, basic competency won’t be enough. To win a promotion or land a job next year, experts commenting in the story said there are four must-have job skills that workers should aim to possess:
Clear Communications – Whatever their level, communication is key for workers to advance. “This is really the ability to clearly articulate your point of view and the ability to create a connection through communication,” said Holly Paul, U.S. recruiting leader at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the accounting and consulting firm based in New York.
For job seekers in particular, clear communication can provide a snapshot of their work style to employers. “I can walk away from a five-minute conversation and feel their enthusiasm and have a good understanding of what’s important to them,” Paul told the newspaper.
As office conversations increasingly move online, some workers are losing or never developing the ability to give a presentation, for example. Others may be unable to write coherently for longer than, say, 140 characters.
“Technology in some ways has taken away our ability to write well. People are in such a hurry that they are multitasking,” and they skip basics such as spelling and proofing, said Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half International, a Menlo Park, Calif., staffing firm.
Personal Branding – Human-resources executives scour blogs, Twitter and professional networking sites such as LinkedIn when researching candidates, and it’s important that they like what they find, the article pointed out. That’s your brand, that’s how you represent yourself,” said Peter Handal, CEO of Dale Carnegie Training, a Hapuppauge, N.Y., provider of workplace-training services. “If you post something that comes back to haunt you, people will see that.”
Workers also should make sure their personal brand is attractive and reflects well on employers. “More and more employers are looking for employees to tweet on their behalf, to blog on their behalf, to build an audience and write compelling, snappy posts,” Meredith Haberfeld, an executive and career coach in New York, told the newspaper.
Flexibility – The ability to be flexible and quickly respond to an employer’s changing needs will be important next year as organizations try to respond nimbly to customers. “A lot of companies want us to work with their employees about how to get out of their comfort zone, how to adapt,” said Handal. “Somebody’s job market today may not be the same as next year.”
The ability to learn new skills is of top importance, said George Boué, human-resources vice president for Stiles, a real-estate services company in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “We want to know that if we roll out a new program or new tools that folks we have on board are going to be open to learning,” he said.
Productivity Improvement – In 2013, workers should find new ways to increase productivity, experts said. Executives are looking for a 20 percent improvement in employee performance from current levels, according to a recent survey by Corporate Executive Board, an Arlington, Va., business research and advisory firm.
“When you are at your job, do you volunteer for projects? Are you looking for creative ways to help the organization,” McDonald said. “The way to really differentiate yourself is to be proactive.”
Companies that are considering adding workers in coming years want current employees to operate in growth mode now, the article pointed out. “My clients are looking for employees that have a great ability to understand what is wanted and needed, rather than needing to be told,” Haberfield said.
Even hiring managers need to work on certain skills as organizations consider expanding next year. “The ability to spot talent and hire people has fallen out of use over the last several years,” said Ben Dattner, an organizational psychologist in New York. “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.”
News from BLK
In the spirit of this wonderful season of giving, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Berman Larson Kane has decided the best gift we could give this year is a charitable contribution to the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in our valued clients’ names. It is our hope that those who have lost so much will begin to rebuild and recover and that the peace and joy of the season will be theirs.
As 2012 comes to a close, we congratulate our own Amy Alvarez on her 18th anniversary with Berman Larson Kane. Amy’s work ethic and commitment to her clients and co-workers make her an invaluable member of our team. On the technology front, we expect our migration to a hosted phone system to be complete within the next two weeks. Additionally, we are happy to report our Facebook page has been well-received and our fan base continues to grow. Check us out at BLK Facebook Page.