It’s no secret that the world is changing and the workplace is following suit. Technology is overtaking every aspect of work and there is something new to offer every few months. Gone are the days of having the “iron rice bowl” or a guaranteed promotion. It’s all about continuous learning and skill upgrading. Market and consumer needs are continually changing and this puts a lot of pressure on employees.
In Singapore, graduates expect that they will be fully formed and ready for the industry by the time they are leaving school, but that is a fallacy.
Whether you’ve graduated from a public school or a private school, a university or secondary school, schools do not teach everything you need to know. You go into your first job green and fresh and your employer already expects you to have mastered certain skills. In order to do well in your career, it is therefore imperative that you learn these skills in advance.
As mentioned earlier, the workplace has changed. This means the skills you need to learn are diverse and different as well. Some may even be viewed as unexpected but such is the world we live in.
So, what are these skills? What do they do and why do we need them? In this article, we’ll look at nine of these essential skills for today’s workplace.
1. Social Media Etiquette
Honestly, most of us need social media. We spend so much time on Facebook, Instagram and social platforms that life might just become a bit too boring without them. We mostly live on social media, and it takes a lot of effort for some people not to post their every thought. This also makes social media one of the best platforms to reach us or our friends.
While it’s your life and your personal page, be mindful of what you post online. Many employers go through your social media before they even call you for an interview. It’s called social media screening and more than 90% of the job interviewers have admitted to doing that. Employers would search for information of your background, the way you carry yourself, whether or not you’re a good fit for the company culture and how creative you are. What image of you would you like them to have? Social media is a double-edged sword. Curate your image with your posts on social media.
2. File Syncing Tools
Information is shared all over the internet as organizations become paperless. It is crucial that you learn how to use file synchronization and collaboration tools such as Slack, Dropbox, Trello, and all of Google’s productivity tools (Google Drive) because these are no longer issues they expect you to call IT for.
Yes, you can put words together to make a sentence. You will need to take this further at the workplace since it incorporates a lot of written communication. This will automatically translate to your output at the workplace.
You will need to learn how to write messages, whether in the form of emails or WhatsApp messages, to properly communicate information to different parties. You get added points if you choose the right time to send the message and show some empathy in your text.
No, don’t look at Bryan from accounting. This is a skill you will need to master because you may be asked to draft a proposal, prepare a budget, plan an office event or trip, or draft up a budget for office supplies. Depending on your job, you may even be required to go through financial statements.
Learn the basics of budgeting, preparing a statement of accounts, and how to record income and expenditure. It will also be useful in your personal life when you want to be mindful of your financials.
Google maps is going to be your new best friend and if you’re driving, you can consider the GPS navigation app Waze. It’s what most Grab drivers in Singapore use. Whether you are new to a place or not, you are expected to find your way around. You will be called for business engagements, and the expectation is that you’ll get there on time whether you’ve been there before or not. While getting lost is normal, it is not always an acceptable reason for being late.
Digital cameras are everywhere and people take great photos on their smartphones. With all the new phones (Samsung S10, Iphone XR, Huawei MAte 20 Pro), everyone is expected to be able to take good photos. Poor quality photos are frowned upon and the expectation, especially for any business-related images, is very high. This is from the consumers themselves. Taking the perfect picture is a must-have skill to speak to your audience.
7. Photo editing
With photography comes photo editing since they don’t always come out perfect or may need some touch-ups for the target audience. A little fiddling can transform a simple photo into the perfect campaign and win lots more clients for the organization. Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are great for photo editing but sometimes, mobile photo editing apps like VSCO, Snapseed and PicsArt.
8. Time Management
Time management calls for prioritization of duties at the workplace. You don’t just offer your time to your employer but rather, you offer productive time. Efficiency is key, and since you will rarely have someone constantly monitoring your every move, you will need to choose appropriately. Good planning and time allocation is needed. You need to ensure that the time you are giving is adding value.
9. People Skills
It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know and that cannot be more true in today’s working world. Interacting with people is inevitable since organizations are comprised of people. It may seem straightforward but working with people is not always easy. People come with different temperaments, and the workplace carries different relationships. Some will be bosses, vendors, subordinates, colleagues, or clients and all these relationships come with different dynamics.
It is essential to learn how to work with different people, to get their cooperation without bulldozing your way so that projects flow, and generally understanding what makes them tick.
Some of these skills may look daunting, but they can be learned. Take this up as a new challenge, consult Google, ask your friends, practice hard, and equip yourself for the workplace!