July 11, 2013

4 Skill Sets to Set you Apart From the Competition

Illuminated Lightbulb stands out among dark bulbsIn today’s competitive job market, it’s no longer enough to simply locate open positions, apply, and make a killer impression at the interview. You have to have something special to offer that puts you ahead of the competition in all the right ways. Specialized skill sets are one of the best ways to do this.

Having the right background or the training employers are looking for can literally make or break your ability to land a given job. Let’s take a look at some of the most sought after skill sets in today’s job market today. If you have any of these in your bag of tricks, make sure you’re using them to sell yourself to potential employers.

1. Project Management

Every company in every industry in the world needs project managers in order to take their big ideas out of the creative realm and into reality where they can make a difference. However, reliable individuals that can really do the job right are rare. If you’re creative, good at leading a team, and enjoy being in charge of important undertakings, then project management may be something you want to explore at some point. Project management is often exciting and challenging, as well as something that pays well and comes with good job security.

According to the latest Project Management Talent Gap Report (March 2013), 15.7 million new project management roles will be added globally across seven project-intensive industries by 2020. This means now and in the near future are the perfect times to develop and solidify your project management skills as you continue your job search.

2. Sales

Every company needs a solid sales team that can effectively sell its products and services to those who need them. That said, if you have a background in sales, then you have a major ace in the hole when it comes to marketing yourself to potential employers – even if you’re not going after a sales position per se. Otherwise, it’s a skill set you might want to think about cultivating, especially if you’re good with people or skilled at communication. Sales positions also offer excitement and lots of earning potential for go-getters as well.

3. IT Skills

If you have any sort of background or training in IT to offer, then congratulations! You’re the type of person every company is looking to add to their staff. The world runs on computers and advanced technological systems these days. However, the ability to properly implement, maintain, and troubleshoot these systems is hardly common knowledge. This makes a good IT team worth its weight in gold. IT offers you the opportunity to put your valuable skills to work in any industry you like, as everyone needs a good IT guy and gal.

4. Software and Web Development

Another skill set that will take you far in this day and age is software development. Our world becomes more technologically advanced by the minute and every company is looking for people who can help it develop everything from mobile applications, to key software programs, to sales websites that really convert. If you’re tech-savvy and enjoy working with computers, web technology, and new ideas, then there’s no reason why the person who reaps the benefits of this trend shouldn’t be you.

I was recently browsing Elance.com looking for someone to help me make changes to my website. I was surprised when I came across one developer whose hourly rate exceeded $1,000, yet this person had numerous jobs under his/her belt and a substantial amount of earnings-to-date.

What am I saying? Even as a freelancer or part-time developer, you will have the potential to make a more than livable income. And, in today’s economy, who couldn’t use that?

Read more in Job Search Advice

Marks’ stories have also been published in a variety of newspaper, magazine and online formats including The Arizona Republic, The Daily Herald, Arizona Foothills Magazine and various classroom magazines of Scholastic Inc. Service is her passion, writing is her platform and uplifting and inspiring the community is her purpose. Marks received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University.
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