January is a month of new beginnings for many – whether that’s going to the gym, making a bid to eat healthier or taking up a long-thought-about project or hobby.
However, January should also be a time for us to give our career trajectory a check-in as well. Whether 2019 is the year you’ll reach for a new promotion, find a new job or make a big career change, doing an audit of your current skill set and what you need to achieve your goals is a great practice to put in place for the year ahead.
Here we’ve rounded up the top eight skills to help you grow your career in 2019. You can find courses for all these skills on findcourses.co.uk, and what’s more, some of them are free!
A recent study by Harvard University showed that men tend to get better economic results out of negotiation, and that whilst women negotiate assertively on behalf of other people (or their company) they’re less likely to be as forceful when negotiating for themselves.
Whatever stage of your career you’re at, negotiation skills are crucial- whether you’re bartering down a third party provider or sat in front of your boss, asking for a payrise. The study also showed that the gender gap when it comes to negotiating narrows when women have been on a negotiation training course… if you needed another reason!
Team management skills
It can be hard to make the transition from colleague to manager, especially if the position you’re aiming for would involve you staying in the same department. If you’re looking to take a step up this year and start managing an individual or a team, a team management training course is a great way to dip your toes in the water.
If you’re already a manager and want to hone your skills, why not focus on a specialisation (like conflict management or change management) or take an advanced course to gain a greater understanding of specific regulations? Find what makes you uncomfortable – and start there!
Computer/IT literacy skills
Excel courses were the fifth most popular course for women in 2018, showing that our reliance on spreadsheets isn’t lessening anytime soon. Whether you spend your day working with job-specific software or you spend hours using Microsoft Office, having a solid understanding of the package(s) you’re using makes your working more efficient, as well as more effective. Plus you can get Microsoft certification for the MS Office courses, which always looks good on your CV and LinkedIn profiles.
Analytic skills aren’t just for digital marketers and finance managers, they’re for anyone responsible for calculating business growth, forecasting results or problem-solving an issue. Having a solid analytic foundation is key as you work your way up the career ladder and are expected to be more and more involved with big-picture business plans.
You don’t have to be a numbers-whiz either: data analytics skills can help you calculate things like employee turnover, identify fraud and manage your own business.
Honing your strategic management skills is a great way to ensure you’re ready for the jump between middle management and being part of the senior team. Despite this, Forbes reported that less than 10 per cent of leaders exhibit strategic skills, and tend to fall-back on fire-fighting operational skills, which can lead to a lack of overall direction for the company or team they’re working in.
If you can sharpen your own strategic know-how you’re putting yourself in a very strong position versus your competition.
Did you know that in 2018 only one in five small-to-medium business were run by women? And that in the UK, there are nearly twice as many male entrepreneurs than women?
If 2019 is the year you strike out of your own and put your business-nouse to use for your own projects, then an entrepreneurship course might be just the thing to give you a the competence (and confidence!) to make it on your own (and balance out those statistics).
Whilst you can’t learn the passion that entrepreneurship demands, you certainly can learn how to manage every aspect of your business (as likely you’ll start as your own CEO, CMO, CFO and office administrator).
It might sound basic, but excellent writing is one of the most common skills asked for by employers – and it’s also one of the biggest employee skills gaps according to a 2018 report.
This doesn’t just mean writing in a way that’s grammatically correct: different industries needs different types of writing. For example, you might need to learn shorthand in order to take business minutes accurately, or you might need to learn how to write bid proposals, reports, white papers or specifications.
Think about your current career path and whether there’s any writing elements that feel like they’ll push you out of your comfort zone, because those are great places to start building your skills.
Presentation skills and public speaking
Public speaking seems to evoke one of two reactions in people: either they shrug, or they immediately break out into a cold sweat. If you’re in the latter camp, then you’re not alone. In fact, nearly 25% of people say they have Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking.
A study by Psychology Today suggests that a large part of the fear comes from how skilled you perceive yourself as being at public speaking (and on the flip-side, being a confident public speaker does not entail being a skilled public speaker). So whether you’re a shrugger or a sweater, put public-speaking on your “done” list in 2019.
About the Author
Sophie Austin is a content writer and editor for findcourses.co.uk and has an MA in Creative Writing from Stockholm University. Sophie has worked in content writing and marketing across a range of industries for over nine years and was a nominee for WATC’s Rising Star award for FM in 2016. When she’s not writing for business, Sophie is a budding novelist with a penchant for fiery female protagonists.