November 24, 2014

7 Tips to Close Skill Gaps, Up Your Value and Solve More Problems

professional advancement

There’s no guarantee today that if you have a job you are secure. Keeping the job you have, or being in career transition both require dedicated attention and action. So what are you doing to enhance your customer and career retention? What is your plan and do you have one for career change?

If you are not armed with the weapons, tools and a strategy for professional advancement to compete at today’s level, then you are vulnerable.

There are more job and career opportunities, but the competition and requirements for them are as fierce as they have ever been.

The most successful job candidates are “inventors and solution-finders,” who are relentlessly “entrepreneurial” because they understand that many employers want what you can do and what you can continuously reinvent yourself to do. ~ How to Get a Job, New York Times

One of my very savvy nurse practitioner friends was a sought after professional for 17 years, until one Friday she was called in and politely fired. The practice was sold to a managed group and they were taking the practice in another direction. She wasn’t prepared to job search in today’s career world, even at her level.

She was medically skilled with lots of good connections, but no LinkedIn, social media or updated resume. She also wasn’t up to date on the new online billing, coding and insurance compliance because someone else did it for her.

She used her connections to get another job within two weeks because of her reputation and following, but she had to work longer hours, see more patients, learn new processes and work harder than she had in 10 years. Now she is responsible for all that coding, billing and compliance and was able to add those  invaluable and essential skills necessary to function in today’s medical world.

She closed her skill gaps, upped her value that was now expected, and is now prepared for job retention or finding a new job if that scenario presents itself again.

Career transition is a way of life for both those who have a career or job, as well as those who have been downsized or laid off. Additionally, more and more people are deciding what they really want to do, who they want to work for, stepping out and making the case for why they should be hired and making that happen.

Taking your career into your own hands and steering  your own career ship in the direction you want it to go is smart, proactive and very effective.

We can’t live on yesterday’s career accomplishments and experiences. Talking about what you did is fine, but talking more about what you are doing is better.

Bolster and Accelerate Your Professional Advancement

Identify Your Skill Gaps and Close Them to Up Your Value

Get some help by hiring a certified coach or career consultant to help you identify and strategically work on this.

Be Job and Career “Search Process” Savvy

Make sure you are proficient in the online search and networking process, especially on LinkedIn. Complete your profile, connect with strategic people, increase your activity and engage with your connections.

Develop a  “Career Retention” Mindset

Be progressive and proactive about learning, expanding and growing beyond where you are, so you are the least likely person they let go and  the first one they can’t be without.

Develop Your Own “Personal Customer Service Process”

Have your own dedicated process of how you consistently serve people and demonstrate your value. Your  results and how you solve problems can ensure your indispensability.

Get Ramped Up for Fast Paced Change as a Way of Life

Put all the skills in place you need to navigate change now. No moaning or procrastination allowed.

Get on Top of and Just Ahead of Trends and Best Practices

Be as current, relevant and real-time as you can in your industry and field so you are always thought of as an informed, trusted adviser.

Own Your Time With People, Especially in Person

Put the phone away, look people in the eye, be interested in them and learn to chit chat better.

What skill gaps can you close, what added value can you offer and what problems can you solve today?

Success Photo via Shutterstock

12 Comments ▼

Deborah Shane


Deborah Shane Deborah Shane is a past staff writer for Small Business Trends covering marketing, branding and social media topics. She is a Top 100 Small Business Champion, career transition consultant, personal branding strategist and social media specialist. Deborah hosts her Top 100 Small Business Podcast weekly. Her book #trusthewhy Fundamentals, Values and Humor Get You Through Anything and award winning "Career Transition: Make the Shift" (2011) are available through all major book sellers.

12 Reactions

  1. Deborah, thanks a lot for these tips!!! I hope they will help me to up my value in the marketplace!!!

  2. As an internet marketer I attend 2-3 conferences each year to increase my knowledge base and to network with other professionals. Since the field is always changing I view this as my continuing education to stay relevant.

    • Robert, very smart to go to your industry conferences and get the latest and meet the greatest, and lots of other colleagues.

  3. Just a remark about your quote, “”The most successful job candidates are “inventors and solution-finders,” who are relentlessly “entrepreneurial” because they understand that many employers want what you can do and what you can continuously reinvent yourself to do. ~ How to Get a Job, New York Times””

    I think the corporate world is rapidly losing a lot of talent with all the “managed” groups that are swallowing up businesses. I reinvented myself until my corporation no longer needed me or anyone else – because they closed our business and sent their jobs to the Philippines.

    I am sure glad that they sent me packing. I discovered that I don’t have to work for a company. I’m talented and entrepreneurial enough to work for myself. True, this was forced upon me. But, I am so much happier now. I cheerfully work 15 – even 16 hour days.

    About ten minutes after I used to get to work, I felt suffocated. Literally. I felt like someone was squeezing my throat. Although I was considered one of the top salespeople in the company, I couldn’t wait to get out of there every night.

    [Edited by Editor]

    • Lots of people not only needing to but wanting to take their careers into their own hands and impact their destiny. It’s very rewarding. All the best. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Deborah:

    I have started to read Randy Gage’s latest book, Risky is the New Safe. The Rules Have Changed. I will soon listen to John Jantsch’s interview (Why Playing It Safe May Be the Riskiest Path of All) with Randy Gage.

    My professional advancement tip is to start a new hobby that could turn into a new business career in the future. Beginning of this year, I got a positive flashback memory from my childhood, when I got presented the opportunity to get aboard with the pre-launch of new markets of a valuable product. As a kid I enjoyed stamp collecting for several years, and now I will start studying the field of numismatics. To paraphrase, in order to “be as current, relevant and real-time as I can in the industry and field,” I have started a new blog covering the precious metals industry.

  5. Martin, I do paint a bit, and used to make some mean beads but I prefer to separate my hobbies from making money off them. I do know people who clean, sew, do handy work, bake and organize that do make some money on the side doing it.

  6. Hi Deborah, I love the tips and idea you have shared in this article. For me this is the best tips you have mentioned – “Taking your career into your own hands and steering your own career ship in the direction you want it to go is smart, proactive and very effective.” Looking forward to see more articles from you.

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