Use 2014 as a tool for building your skill set

WITH just a handful of days left in 2013, and Christmas done and dusted for another year, it's time to be looking ahead to 2014 and what you want it to deliver on the career front.

If you're looking for a change of direction, a new start or just to make the most of opportunities presented in your current workplace, one theme runs through all the options: you need the right skills. Even the term, unskilled labour, is something of a misnomer. Every job requires its workers to be good at something, whether that's brain surgery or running the kitchen at KFC.

While the particular skills set you will require depends largely on the job you are looking for, there are increasingly constants that run through most jobs in most industries.

Good luck finding a job where communication skills are not required.

We do not work in isolated silos. There is always some interaction with other people: colleagues, clients or the boss, for starters.

On the whole, though, your job will dictate the required skills. Do your research and look at the requirements listed on vacancy ads.

If you fall short on particular skills, look into where you can do the necessary training to brush up your talents. Tafes, RTOs and universities all offer short courses aimed at people wanting to improve their skills in a particular area.

With more than 259 million members worldwide, LinkedIn (touted as the social network for professionals) has analysed the skills and employment history of those quarter-billion members to establish the most in-demand skills of 2013.

Take it with a grain of salt, though. The site is global so a particular skill with huge demand in Europe may have little or no demand here.

The top 25 was dominated by technology-related skills, with social media marketing sitting in first position. Only a handful of skills (statistical analysis, recruiting, business development, business intelligence, public relations and communications and strategy planning) were not straight-up tech-web skills.

Which makes sense - it's almost 2014 after all and technology is playing an ever-increasing role in many aspects of our lives.

We were promised flying cars and hover boards by 2015 (if Back to the Future II is to be believed, and I see no reason why it shouldn't), so there's a pretty narrow window to get those across the line.



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