You're admired for having the memory of an elephant and the innate ability to put people at ease.
But are your skills the ones that employers consider top priority? Do they mesh with changing economic and work environments?
If not, hone new talents that will set you apart from the crowd. Start by asking yourself the following questions devised by Susan Fenner, manager of education and professional development at the International Association
of Administrative Professionals.
Question: Do I prefer to work with someone I already know? _Yes _ No
Advice: Step outside your comfort zone by using a vendor that's not local. Save your office money by tracking down a more affordable printer or office supply store via the Internet.
Question: Am I using an old version of important software? _ Yes _ No
Advice: "Push your employer to help you be as productive as you can be by supplying you with the latest computer aids," advises Fenner. "At the same time, push yourself to keep current with the latest technology and applications."
Question: Are you up to speed on how your field is changing and what's working in other offices? _ Yes _ No
Advice: Set a goal of reading each of the following every month: a professional publication, a technology magazine and a business book or newspaper.
Question: Have you completed any training in the past year that directly applies to your job? _Yes _ No
Advice: This year, learn a new technique or shortcut, and make new contacts. "In today's workplace, most things you know have a shelf life of no more than five years," says Fenner. "By that time, the software you're using is outdated, the resources that were once useful are no longer available or in place, the people you used to rely on are most likely gone."
Question: Does your office look the same way it did five years ago? _Yes _ No
Advice: Turn your desktop into control central. Computer files should supersede paper files; handle phones and faxes through the computer.
Question: Do you have the same corporate heroes that you did five years ago? n Yes n No
Advice: Expand your relational base. "You should have mastered the skills you learned from your heroes in five years, then moved on to new areas of development," Fenner advises. "Extend your mentoring and find new people to learn from."
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