Just doing your job isn’t enough these days. (Workplace superstars have always known that.)
“With the reality of a tight employment market, adding value beyond your job description is a must for everybody,” says Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone.
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He recently offered a few tips on his blog for being indispensable in your workplace:
1. Ask seemingly stupid questions. “If you ask questions that are like no other, you get results that are unlike any that the world has seen,” Ferrazzi says.
2. Develop a niche. “Think of several areas where your company or department underperforms and choose to focus on the one area that is least attended to,” he says.
3. Know the new technology. “You don’t need to be a ‘techno geek,’” he says, but you do need to understand how technology could be used to help you add value.
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Ferrazzi says, “The great thing about this strategy is that you’re not only creating job security. You’re developing skills and expertise that will nourish your career, wherever you take it.”
Take Control of Your Own Training
If there’s one thing employees have learned from the recession, it is not to rely on the bosses to keep their skills sharp. Fortunately, there are many more ways to stretch your skills.
• Enroll in online webinars or self-directed classes. Many cater to the admin profession, such as those offered by Business Management Daily, publisher of Administrative Professional Today, and IAAP-hq.org. Others, like Knowledgewebb.net, can help build technical skills.
• Take the boot camp approach. Target a specific skill set you want to bolster, then enroll in certificate coursework at a local university.
Example: Cristina Planas was seven years into her career when she saw a need to sharpen her advanced writing skills. She tracked down a nondegree course at the University of Miami; her employer agreed to pay a portion of the tuition and let her leave work slightly early once a week.
• Not sure what skills you need? Do research using social-media tools. Sharlyn Lauby, president of ITM Group Inc., a training consultancy, suggests joining online groups and asking questions, such as, “What do you think are the three skills people are looking for in our field?”
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