Everybody wants to succeed in life. But few put in the effort required. Most believe being average is enough.
It is not the case, especially now that we face a global pandemic, political and social instability, and natural disasters. If we want to be recognized, we need to be exceptional. It starts by becoming our best selves and learning the skills the current labor market requires.
Beauty Comes from Within, or Does it?
Imagine you are the HR manager of a prestigious Fashion House and are in charge of hiring a marketing director to handle advertising, PR, and promotional activities in your Paris branch. Given two candidates of the same age, with similar experience and equally impressive backgrounds, would you hire the one that is physically less attractive?
If you said yes, perhaps you are a bit too idealistic. Remember, we are talking about the fashion industry, which thrives on youth and external beauty. Besides, wouldn’t it be unfair to the more attractive person? After all, they both have the same qualifications and experience, don’t they?
Let us look at a different example. This time it is another industry, let’s say IT or civil engineering. The first candidate presents herself well-dressed, her nails polished, her hair in a professionally-looking bun. The second comes in wearing cut-off jeans, a backward cap, and a clear alcohol scent. In this case, the decision would be quite easy, wouldn’t it?
No matter what people think, the reality is that looks do matter in business, especially in sales, when you have to face direct customers. As such, it wouldn’t hurt to look professional and confident. Neither would investing in a light-based teeth whitening kit if you have stains on your teeth or a proper haircut every once in a while.
It’s your life and your career. Wouldn’t you like to show the world your best self?
The Power of Communication
Almost half of the population worldwide is bilingual. This is close to 4 billion people. If you want to give yourself the best chance of success in the corporate world, knowing two languages is not enough. It is no longer a competitive advantage.
Of course, the more, the better. If you can speak 10 languages fluently, you will be able to do business in pretty much every country in the world.
Let’s be honest, though. That is both unrealistic and absurd. Even if you had the time to study 10 different languages, which most people don’t, why would you do this? There are many other skills to focus on: management, marketing, sales, corporate strategy, and HR.
Still, knowing at least three of the most relevant languages in business will give you a skill set most people don’t have. And if you ever find yourself competing against another candidate or several for a high-paying job, it could be the difference between getting hired and remaining unemployed.
IT and Basic Computer Skills
One of the many effects of the covid-19 global pandemic has been the rapid increase of home-based jobs. Due to government restrictions on contact between human beings and the need for isolation, telecommuting is now more prevalent than ever before. As such, a great number of people now find themselves in front of a computer screen, a telephone, or a tablet the vast majority of their working day.
Those who have been able to adapt have kept their jobs or found new ones as content writers, virtual assistants, network infrastructure specialists, brand managers, and web developers. Those who have not have struggled to keep their heads above water and make ends meet.
Covid-19 isn’t going anywhere, at least not soon. What this tells us is that it is we who have to change. It is our responsibility to adapt if we want to stay relevant in the job market.
How do we do this? The answer is to focus on the most practical, most useful IT skills currently used by all major corporations. We don’t need to be experts in virtual compute engines, big data management, PHP, and Python. But we can learn about collaboration tools and videoconferencing platforms like Slack, Click Up, Google Meetings, and Zoom. We can also take a refresher course in managing spreadsheets and making presentations in PowerPoint or the Google Suite.
There is no guarantee of success in any job or career. Unexpected things happen, and once flourishing businesses suddenly go under, leaving thousands unemployed.
Yet, we can take action to prepare the best way possible. We can work on presenting the best versions of who we are. We can also increase our ability by learning an extra language or pertinent IT skills.
By doing it, we stand a step ahead of the competition and give ourselves the best opportunity to succeed regardless of the surrounding situation.