Career Strategy: How Marketable Are You?

One of the things you need to consider as you map out a career strategy is how marketable you are. What skills do you bring to the table? Is there a reason that someone should hire you?

You need to be able to answer these questions, and articulate what you do, and how well you do it, if you want to boost your employment prospects.

What are Your Marketable Skills?

Take some time to think about what you have to offer in terms of skills. In general, skill sets are divided into two main categories:

  1. Hard skills: These are skills that you have in terms of tangible, quantifiable accomplishments. Hard skills are things like being able to type a certain number of words per minute, or being expert with a particular software program, or knowing a programming language, or having a permit to operate heavy machinery.
  2. Soft skills: Your soft skills aren’t so easy to quantify, but they can be just as valuable as hard skills. Soft skills include items like leadership, written and oral communication, presentation skills, problem solving, and creativity. The way you develop these skills can be a real resume builder — especially if you network.

Figure out what skills you have, and determine how they can benefit an employer. Even if you decide that you want to go another direction with your career, you might have some valuable hard skills and soft skills that can make you valuable to someone else.

Find out what your employer requires in order to justify a raise or a promotion, and acquire that skill. Do you need more management and leadership savvy to take on more responsibility and get a promotion? Does gaining a specific certification mean a raise? Find out what skills are in demand in the area you want to pursue, and then develop those skills.

“Official” Recognition for Your Skills

In some cases, you might be required to complete a class or go through training to receive “official” recognition for your skills. More often, this is required for those with hard skills. You might need to be certified in a particular subject or process, or you might need a specific license.

With soft skills, often you have to work hard to show that you are capable. You need to show good leadership in your company, or draft a clear and concise press release to be recognized for your skills. A degree in Communications might be “official” recognition of this ability, but you might still need to demonstrate your skills in a way that no certification can really capture.

As you develop your skills, and gain experience to boost your abilities, more employers will recognize your worth. You’ll find it easier to qualify for new job opportunities, as well as ask for more money in your existing job.

Learn what is the norm for your projected career path, and then make sure that what you have to offer will be recognized for what it is: A valuable skill that an employer is willing to pay for.

About the Author

Miranda writes about financial topics for several web sites. Her blog is Planting Money Seeds, and her book, Confessions of a Professional Blogger, is available on Amazon.