Without a doubt, the age we're living in is competitive, rapidly changing, and dynamic. The ever increasing rate of globalization and swift sprout of technology has blurred the conventional boundaries between nations. You, now, not only face competition from yourself and your peers within the country, but from people all around the globe.
Our pool of candidates now is not only confined to graduates from within the country, but also consists of those who have from abroad with an international degree. You need to prove yourself different from the rest to stand out and give your career a great start.
If you do not know how to use computers and/or Internet fluently, you're no better than a group of cave-men. Being able to use Microsoft Office packages is one of the basic skills nowadays. Most of the resumes we receive for a vacancy have "Microsoft Office" mentioned under the "IT Skills" heading. To survive in today's competitive market, you need to have something extra to shine out. Advanced knowledge of MS-Office packages – like working on Macros, or using Pivot Table/Chart, data-crunching and analysis, designing visually attractive presentation slides, fluent Internet and email handling, basic hardware and software troubleshooting, and a modest ability of graphic designing help you stand out. This era belongs to technology and if you're making any compromise in adapting to these, it will hit you hard in your career growth.
MULTI-TASKING AND TIME MANAGEMENT
Hands down, you simply cannot perform two things at a time. But you can multitask, and you should be able to. It is all about prioritizing work – rightly investing your effort for the right work at the right time. There are students who are managing their studies and work at the same time. There are programmers who intake hefty amount of caffeine to keep them awake all night to complete that extra page of code. There are professionals handling multiple projects with simultaneous deadlines. Know how to prioritize your work, manage your time, and complete multiple tasks within committed time.
Develop the habit of making a "to-do" list, either on your smartphone or on your notebook. Also develop a habit of making a "not-to-do" list. This will help you eliminate the unproductive things that have been consuming your time. Prepare a Gantt chart for your works and arrange them in order of priority. If you encounter any problem, you should have the ability to understand the problem by breaking it down to smaller parts, and identify key issues, implications and recommend solutions yourself. The world is growing at a rapid pace. Failing to keep up with this pace might lead your career to an abysmal downward-spiral.
Even with rapid technological advancement and increasing reliance over gadgets, the people's side of doing business has not faded away, and probably never will. You need to be able to recognize others' emotions and be able to put yourself in their shoes. You need to understand the other person's perspective and situation.
A myth about empathy is that it is a skill required only for people in human resources. If you want to build your career in finance, marketing, IT or anywhere else, you need to eventually deal with people, and therefore be emotionally intelligent. You need to pay attention to the cues, listen carefully to people, and be flexible to see the other person's side of the story. At the end of the day, you will ultimately work "with people."
Master these three fundamental skills, and you're a step ahead of a thousand others.