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Professional Skills to a Successful Career


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Professional skills are skills that graduates need to posses in order to be successful in their professional practice. These skills range from highly specific ones related to the graduate's field(s) to more general, transferable ones such as communications and ethical practices.

When graduates apply for a job, most employers want to know what professional skills they have already, and how willing they are to learn industry and worksite specific skills. Employers normally want not just a list of skills (that graduates can easily get from a book or the internet), but they require graduates to identify their key professional skills and to provide evidence by citing examples of how they have used these skills already in relevant contexts such as at university or workplaces.

The slideshow discusses the 7 most wanted professional skills in today’s competitive professional environment.

The slideshow was presented at the Career Expo 2010 (Dec. 1, 2010) organized by the 4th grade students of the Faculty of Accounting & Finance of the University of Aruba.

Published in: Career

Professional Skills to a Successful Career

  1. 1. Professional Skills to a Successful Career 7 skills graduates need to possess to thrive in today’s professional practice Edward M. Erasmus MA University of Aruba, Career Expo 2010 December 1, 2010
  2. 2. What we will do in the next 40 minutes… • Have a conversation about professional skills • Explain some backgrounds about professional skills • Learn which skills are required in today’s professional practices • Generate interactive discussion afterwards
  3. 3. What are skills? Encarta® World English Dictionary: skill [ skil ] (plural skills) Definition: 1. ability to do something well: the ability to do something well, usually gained through training or experience 2. something requiring training to do well: something that requires training and experience to do well, e.g. an art or trade
  4. 4. Professional skills… • Skills that graduates need to succeed in professional practice • These range from highly specific ones related to the graduate’s field(s) to more general, transferable ones such as communications and ethical practices.
  5. 5. How do we acquire professional skills? Education (formal & informal) On-the-job training Life experiences (good and bad)
  6. 6. The top 7 Professional skills that are essential for career success... So here they are……
  7. 7. #1 Communication skills
  8. 8. Communicating…. • Every job will require you to communicate with other people, in speaking and in writing. • Professionals need to express themselves clearly in their dealings with supervisors, underlings, co-workers, clients, etc.
  9. 9. Oral Presentation Audience Awareness Critical Listening Written Professional-level Writing Critical Reading Presentation of Data Non-Verbal Personal Presentation Body Language Communication skills….
  10. 10. Communication skills…. Always remember the five “C’s” of communication… Clarity, Completeness, Conciseness, Concreteness and Correctness.
  11. 11. Example written communication… The wrong way……
  12. 12. Example written communication… The correct way……
  13. 13. “Communication–the human connection–is the key to personal and career success.” ~ Paul J. Meyer
  14. 14. #2 Information technology skills
  15. 15. • Computers, PDA’s, software, internet and all sorts of highly sophisticated tools have taken over the workplace. • Every worker needs to have at least a basic level of skill and comfort with modern technology, just to be able to function. • Important: it’s all about enhancing productivity!
  16. 16. Information technology “Technology will continue to reshape the workplace, changing how and where we conduct business. As a result, flexibility and adaptability will be sought-after attributes in employees at all levels.” ~ Diane Domeyer, OfficeTeam (Office of the Future: 2020)
  17. 17. Workplace of the future
  18. 18. #3 Information handling skills
  19. 19. Welcome to the era of information overload…
  20. 20. Information overload in our everyday professional life…. Tasks deadlines Calendar appointments Seminar invitations Facebook/Twitter messages BB Message SMS Emails Reports Phone calls Letters Checks to sign Newsletters, magazines, etc. Client requests Etc, etc. Etc, etc.
  21. 21. “The biggest challenge is to process large quantities of information quickly and efficiently…” • Filtering • Skimming and processing • Prioritizing • Defining next actions (do, delegate, respond, delete, file, wait for later, etc.)
  22. 22. #4 Multi-tasking skills
  23. 23. ……the act of doing multiple things at once.
  24. 24. • Numerous studies on multitasking have been carried out, with mixed results. It would appear that in some cases, multitasking is indeed an effective way to utilize time, while in other instances, the quality of the work suffers as a result of split attention.
  25. 25. • A certain amount of multitasking has become necessary and expected in many industries. • Important: When you do decide to multitask, make sure to check your work carefully, to ensure that it is of high quality, and consider abandoning multitasking for certain tasks if you notice a decline.
  26. 26. #5 Critical thinking skills
  27. 27. “Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions…..”
  28. 28. • raises vital questions to problems; • gathers and assesses relevant information; • thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought, • recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and • communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.
  29. 29. #6 Teamworking skills
  30. 30. The concept of teamwork is self-explanatory: • a group of people working for one goal, • where each individual brings forth his/her skills in a concentrated manner and ; • coordinates it with others skills, • to produce a desirable end.
  31. 31. Through teamwork we will…
  32. 32. …Save lives! Through teamwork we may also….
  33. 33. #7 Continuous learning skills
  34. 34. Once, having your degree or diploma was a lifelong guarantee of success and knowledge…. Today, continuous learning and education is required to stay competitive in industry and job markets, stay abreast of new developments in your field, enhance your personal knowledge and skills, and to serve your clients most effectively.
  35. 35. A growing number of professions require continuous education credits (CEC) or periodic recertification: • Accountants • Physicians/surgeons • Architects • Engineers • ICT professionals • Etc.
  36. 36. So…practicing a professional career is a brain race… Life is no longer warm and fuzzy. Lifelong learning is a precondition for further career success. “If you stop learning, you will become unemployed and unemployable very quickly.” ~ Paul Saffo, Silicon Valley technology forecaster
  37. 37. 1. Communication skills 2. Information technology skills 3. Information handling skills 4. Multitasking skills 5. Critical thinking skills 6. Teamworking skills 7. Continuous learning skills
  38. 38. Choosing the right career….
  39. 39. Choosing a career…. For a lot of young students it’s a scary thing.. • Quite early in life you should decide what career you wish to pursue; • It will probably be one of the most important decisions you make in your life; • Most people will spend more of their waking lives working than doing anything else. Career choices are life choices! Take them seriously! Do it right!
  40. 40. Choosing the right career…. What am I good at? What will I enjoy? What kind of salary would I be happy with? Would I rather be indoors or outdoors? What experience do I currently have that may help? Do I want a creative job? Do I enjoy negotiating or persuading? What am I interested in? Would I like to lead and manage others? Is variety important to me? Do I want to work with people, with animals or alone? Which Career?
  41. 41. My career advice to young students is….. “Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.”
  42. 42. QUESTIONS?
  43. 43. THANK YOU! I wish you all a pleasant evening