What’s new about the new economy? Technology has changed the rules. We are overloaded by information. The new digital age is faster and leaner and demands an unending need for speed. Put simply, we are information rich and knowledge poor. The new way of doing things requires not only technical mastery but also “soft skills” including integrative ability, reliability, dedication, determination and interpersonal relations. Here is how to stay ahead:
1. Be Mentored – Pick someone who will teach you the tricks carefully. Take time to learn the culture of the company since each organization is unique and different. Keep an open mind and don’t form too many opinions too early on. Once you have learned the rules you will understand how to get things done.
2. Be Motivated – Present yourself as an energetic and enthusiastic professional. Demonstrate your self-confidence and go to work each day ready to tackle the challenges ahead. Learn to think and act for yourself with a sense of purpose. Can you generate results?
3. Be Self-managed – Manage your own career by building your experience as quickly as you can. Your ability to manage your time efficiently will allow you to wear more hats, including balancing your work and outside commitments. Take advantage of company or external training programs. Whether you are going into a full-blown graduate program or merely participating in a seminar to improve your management skills, you will need to reinvest continually in yourself.
4. Be Current – Keeping up with trends, skills and technical proficiencies will help you build a better resume each year. The role of knowledge is even more valuable today than it use to be, and companies expect you to stay current rather than spend valuable time training you.
5. Be Short-term & Long-term Focused – In the new economy, you might not be in your current role for long. Consider the skills and experience you can develop and then bring to another position within the firm or perhaps another company. Determine what you want to accomplish in the next year as well as three to five years from now. A career that is chosen today is not necessarily one that is chosen for life.
6. Be a Communicator – Your ability to speak clearly and articulately in front of small and large groups is key to your success in the new economy. Also, can you get your message across by writing concisely? Companies desire strong oral and written communication skills for effective presentation to clients, employees and the Board of Directors.
7. Be a Team Player – Most projects in the new economy are being accomplished with teams. Your ability to get along with different types of people in a work group and achieve a common goal will be rewarded.
8. Be Fast or Be Last – Recruiters want new hires that can hit the ground running. Employers want workers to be able to show initiative in assessing situations, identifying options and implementing solutions to problems. Do you have the flexibility and creativity to think outside the box or do you need to be told what to do? You will need to think and act quickly so you don’t get left behind in the digital divide.
9. Be Entrepreneurial – Innovative leaders are rewarded; followers are not. Learn to take calculated risks and be prepared to participate. Stay organized and take ownership of your responsibilities with a “can do” spirit. See yourself as a Project Manager with the attitude, “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.”
10. Be Education + Experience Oriented – Firms seek new hires that demonstrate a balance between academics and relevant work. Employers want degrees because it shows a level of dedication and commitment. Companies also want you to come to the table “job ready” with transferable skills, practical internships and related experience.