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Office Hours: 10 Skills to Fine-Tune and Advance Your Career

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

Welcome to Office Hours. We’re so glad you dropped by. This column is an initiative of The Fine Line and Fairygodboss created to address the career questions of women 40 and older. Fairygodboss is the largest career community for women and provides millions of people with hard-to-find intel on maternity leave policies, salaries, work-life balance, and how companies treat their female employees.

Each month, a Fairygodboss expert will answer a question from one of our readers. If you have a question about finding a job, starting a new career, or an issue in the workplace, please write us at hello@thefinelinemag.com.


Q: I feel stuck at work and as if I can’t compete with the younger generation. How can I refresh my office skills and move ahead?

A: Whether you’ve been out of the working world for some time, you’ve decided to change careers, or you feel stuck at your current position, it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of job skills that are always relevant and those that are becoming more relevant.

PayScale, a website that provides information about salary, benefits, and compensation so that people can know their worth in the job world, has found that certain skills are highly valued by hiring managers across the board. They’re also in demand, as they don’t seem to be too prevalent among recent grads: writing, public speaking, data analysis (Excel, Tableau, Python, R, etc.), industry-specific software (Salesforce, CAD, Quickbooks, etc.), and mathematics. If you’re looking for a job, be sure to demonstrate your proficiency in those needed job skills, by naming them on your resume and by talking about your experiences with them.


 Transferable skills like communication, leadership, teamwork, initiative, and listening are always appreciated by employers.


Likewise, transferable skills like communication, leadership, teamwork, initiative, and listening are always appreciated by employers; they are plug-and-play across companies, industries, sectors, agencies, and positions. Make sure these are also on your resume and exemplified in the experiences you share in your cover letter as well as your interviews.

If your office skills need a refresh, there are resources that can help.

Consider doing volunteer work, which will fine-tune your teamwork and initiative skills. Sources like Volunteer International, the International Volunteer HQ, and UN Volunteers can help you find opportunities.

For communication and listening skills, check out podcasts like The Power of Active Listening or books like How to Talk to Anyone and Thanks for the Feedback.

For leadership skills, check out books to help you rise above middle management. We like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Peopleby Stephen Covey; You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero; and The 5 Second Rule, by Mel Robbins.

When it comes to computing, determine what skills are applicable in your industry. Once you understand the latest requirements for your job (or the job you want), find a class to take or watch YouTube tutorials and then spend your free time practicing those programs or platforms.

If you missed our profile on Fairygodboss co-founder Romy Newman, read it here.

Photo: Bonnin Studio

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