Presented by GetSmarter

Five fast ways to boost your job prospects

Five fast ways to boost your job prospects
Photo: Getty Images
The pace of change in today's workplaces can seem daunting for anyone. That's especially true if you’ve moved abroad for professional or personal reasons and you’re still adjusting to a new working culture.

But is it really time for millions of us to make way for the robots? Evidence suggests that in fact demand is growing for interpersonal human skills, as well as technological know-how. 

One thing is for sure: whatever aspect of yourself you wish to improve, finding the time is not easy! The Local has teamed up with GetSmarter, which provides online education courses in collaboration with leading universities such as the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), to offer you five ways you can boost your career prospects in 100 hours or less. 

Need a career boost? Find out about the MBA Essentials online certificate course from LSE and GetSmarter

1. Work on your ‘soft skills’

If you fear being left behind by today’s rapidly changing world, you’re not alone. But did you know that experts say essential human skills are becoming more rather than less important in the workplace?

It’s a “common misconception” that you won’t be able to thrive without advanced technological or scientific skills, says the World Economic Forum (WEF). This idea is also supported by a survey of business leaders in Europe and North America carried out by the McKinsey Global Institute to identify the skills that would be most in-demand by 2030. 

It found the need for social and emotional skills will increase during the 2020s, alongside demand for technological expertise.  

Defining and measuring ‘soft skills’ is less than straightforward. But creativity tops a recent LinkedIn list of the soft skills companies most need, followed by persuasion and collaboration. So, if 2020 has sapped your spirit, spend some time indulging your creative side!

2. Show some empathy and EQ!

A new entry in the LinkedIn list this year was ‘emotional intelligence’. This quality includes self-awareness, social skills, empathy and motivation. If you’re sceptical, be aware that some employers ask job applicants probing questions designed to measure your EQ (emotional quotient).

You can sharpen your EQ by embracing criticism as a learning opportunity and exploring the ‘why’ in every situation, says LinkedIn.

Never heard of ‘digital body language’? Amid the rise in remote working due to Covid-19, experts also advise that striking the right tone of voice in emails and texts is more important than ever. If you live abroad, you’re probably already wary of potential misunderstandings but thinking in terms of emotional intelligence as well as language may be wise.

Photo: Getty Images

3. Get proactive about lifelong learning

Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell popularised the idea that 10,000 hours of practice is the key to achieving greatness. But that’s three hours per day for a decade! 

You may already have missed your chance to make a living as a chess grandmaster or a virtuoso on the violin. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t be serious about lifelong learning.

Want to be a lifelong learner? Take your first step with MBA Essentials from LSE and GetSmarter 

The WEF has called for a “global reskilling revolution”. It says organisations should encourage their workers to keep developing – but that each of us can also “take responsibility for upgrading our skills”. According to the WEF Future of Jobs Report, highly-skilled workers are most likely to be hired, retrained – and receive pay rises.

Of course, dedicating yourself to lifelong learning will require significant amounts of time over the years. But imagine what you could gain if you spent the first 100 hours (that’s one percent of 10,000 hours!) addressing one of your weaknesses … 

4. Don’t give up on digital tech …

Demand for basic tech skills, as well as advanced capabilities, will rise sharply by 2030, according to McKinsey. So while it’s easy to feel the future belongs to coders, AI programmers and blockchain developers, you really can make a good impression without mastering Python or Java! 

As automation advances, people with a sophisticated understanding of digital technology will be very much in the minority. Remember that spending some time continuing to improve your basic digital skills could make all the difference at a job interview or when seeking a promotion.  

5. Just Get Smarter! 

Given the chance to return to studying or do some intensive training, you could no doubt boost your career outlook. But just how do you find the time these days?

Well, one way is to take on a challenge such as the MBA Essentials online certificate course from the world-renowned LSE. In just ten weeks (and around 95 hours of total learning), you’ll develop a better understanding of the complexities of today’s business environment – and gain skills and insights designed to help you lead with confidence.

You’ll get a personalised and flexible learning experience, entirely online – and which you can plan around your existing commitments as you tick off weekly milestones.

Delivered in collaboration with GetSmarter, the course is guided by LSE faculty who teach MBA-focused skills covering strategy, finance, and people. 

Impatient to improve yourself and move forward in the business world even quicker? Check out these online certificate courses also offered by LSE and GetSmarter: Business, International Relations and the Political Economy (80 hours of learning in eight weeks) and Competitive Strategy and Innovation (70 hours in eight weeks).

Learn from a world-leading social science university in your own time: click here to find out more about the MBA Essentials online certificate course.