1. Know exactly what your marketable job skills are. The very first (and most important) thing that you can do to improve your marketable job skills is to get a good, thorough understanding of exactly what those skills are. Brainstorm a list of everything that you’re skilled at which has the potential to benefit an employer. See if there is anything on the list that you don’t want to focus on. Cross those items off of your list. Plan to improve the marketability of everything else that you have on your list.
2. Make sure that your marketable job skills are entirely up-to-date. It is not enough for you to be able to operate a basic Word processing program. You need to be able to operate the most up-to-date software that is used in offices today. Go through the list that you created and ask yourself how cutting-edge your skill in this area really is. If it’s not totally up-to-date then you need to start checking out online reading materials or in-person classes to get more up-to-date. You want to be able to say that you know what the latest technology and processes are for each skill on your list.
3. Memorize a one-sentence description of why it’s important that you know each skill. One of the easiest ways to improve upon your existing job skills is to learn how to articulate them in a better way than what you’ve done in the past. Go through your list of marketable skills. For each one, come up with a single sentence that succinctly describes to an employer why this skill is so important for them to have in an employee. Memorize the reasons that each skill will be important so that you can share them naturally during interviews. In this way, you don’t just say, “I have this skill” but also hand the interviewer a reason that they need someone with this skill.
4. Figure out what’s at the core of each skill and develop it in new ways. For example, one great skill to have for many jobs is the skill of good written communication. At the core of this is the ability to write in a way that people can understand. If you’re not working right now then you might not be developing that skill. Try to find a new way to develop it such as starting a blog or writing articles for submission to websites. This will help you to hone your skills.
5. Do something to stimulate your sense of creativity. Your job skills stagnate when your brain isn’t working to be creative. This can be a huge problem for people especially people who are dealing with the difficulties of unemployment. By doing things that get you thinking creatively again, you’ll be enhancing your ability to keep your skills set strong. Anything that keeps you creative is going to be good for your other job skills.
6. Find a mentor. One really great way to improve your skills set is to find a mentor who is willing to help you. This can benefit the mentor as well because it allows him or her to add to their own skills set as a teacher. Work with a trusted individual in your field who will assist you in improving upon your skills. This person may actually provide you with additional training to enhance your skills or may instead just serve as someone that holds you accountable for meeting the goals that you set for skill development.
7. Get people to vouch for you. Your mentor can do this. So can people you’ve worked for in the past. All that it means is that you find someone who knows that you do indeed have the skills that you say that you have and who is willing to tell that to others. This can even be done online through sites like LinkedIn where you can ask people to recommend you or give a testimonial for you. The more people that you have affirming your skills set, the more marketable you become.
8. Get more education. A lot of people who can’t find jobs right now are finding that it may be time to go back to school instead. You can take some certification classes or even get a new degree. While you’re doing this, you’re improving upon your existing skill set. You’re also increasing your own professional credibility which helps to make you more marketable when you do go to get a job.
9. Add some new skills to your list. When you have improved all of your existing job skills then it’s time to start thinking about what else should be on that list to make you more marketable as an employee. Think hard about the weaknesses that you have in your work. Ask yourself what criticisms past employers have given you or what you think you’re lacking that a good employee has. Work on developing those skills to improve your marketability as an employee.
10. Do your best … every time. Finally, what you need to do to improve any marketable job skill that you have is to make sure that you do your best every time that you use that skill. Practice makes perfect. If you’re slacking off when implementing the skill then you’re not maximizing it. A job well done says a lot to potential employers.
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