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Five additional skills that can make you stand out among your peers

  • Whether you are in the academia or you are in the corporate sector; irrespective of where you work or your area of specialization, there are certain practical and creative skills that can facilitate your productivity, make you highly resourceful, and give you a competitive edge among your peers.

    Here are some of them:

    1. Multilingual skill

    Being a polyglot comes with numerous advantages. If you can speak your mother tongue and add at least two other major languages, you will be in a more strategic position at taking several advantages. For instance, bilingualism can create transnational job opportunities and help you navigate the world. It also helps you understand and appreciate the things that are sometimes lost in translation and thus have a better understanding of issues, cultures, and traditions, and so on.

    2. Graphic design skill

    Visual communication — passing across messages through designs/images — is one of the most important skills to learn. New expressive platforms, particularly the digital ones, have given paramount importance to visual communication as it drives home the message easily without unnecessary verbosity. Hence, whatever your core specialization is, you should have a basic knowledge of how to design or illustrate simple concepts. It is advisable to learn basic use of major design software such as Corel Draw, Photoshop, and so on.

    3. Typesetting skill

    Typesetting is the new handwriting skill in the 21st century. Thus, irrespective of what you do, if you cannot basically use typesetting software like MS Word and Adobe In-Design, it’s like you don’t know how to write. So, you can be safely categorized as a typical 21st century illiterate—regardless of your position. Mastering typesetting skills facilitate your tasks and make you more productive as you don’t need to engage a third party for typesetting tasks.

    4. Analytical skill

    Analytical skill is the ability to visualize, articulate, conceptualize or solve problems by making sensible, pragmatic, and productive decisions that are sensible given the available data/information. It involves collecting or using information/data e.g. previous situations/experience, contexts, human/socioeconomic dynamics, and other factors to come up with enduring solutions to solve organizational problems.

    Analytical skill is not only meant for academic researchers, finance/economic experts, social media analysts, etc. It’s for everyone who desires to get to the apex of their career. Mastering analytical skills make you a problem solver; is there any credible organization that doesn’t value problem solvers? I don’t know one yet.

    Thanks to technology, there are now various software applications that can facilitate analytical tasks.  Some of the major analysis software applications everyone should master are Microsoft Excel and SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences).

    5. Communication skill

    Whatever is the official language of where you live and work, it is important to master it very well for effective communication. Nevertheless, mastering communication skills is beyond learning the grammar of the language. You must understand the semantics and pragmatics of the language. To simplify it, you must be able to use the language to ‘say what you mean and mean what you say’; you must be able to use the language to pass across messages without being misunderstood, to convince people to take actions/pass across instructions without sounding arrogant.

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