Is a traditional college degree enough to compete in today’s workforce? A recent Today.com article suggests that potential employers aren’t just looking for targeted skills. They want a broad set of skills that reach beyond your job-specific role into business, analytical, and interpersonal areas. Being an expert in your particular field of knowledge is critical—but here are some complementary skills that potential employers may also consider valuable.
Posts Tagged ‘business skills’
Everyone dreads “scope creep.” That’s when a project keeps expanding, either due to endless revisions or the addition of new work that wasn’t part of the original plan. To avoid it, be up front with clients about the number of changes covered in the fees that you’ve agreed upon. Additional work and/or revisions can certainly be accommodated, but you’ll need to amend the original agreement so that you’re fairly compensated for it.
What qualifies as a revision? What’s the difference between minor changes and substantial ones? You’ll have to define the line between the two, and make it clear to your client before you begin work; add this definition into the Terms & Conditions section of your agreement.
Welcome to our new series Monday Productivity Pointers. Each week I’ll take a look at a different productivity tool and release two videos on the topic. These pointers can be a great way to test-drive tools and see if they’re right for you. But even if you’ve used them before, you’re likely to discover at least one feature that you probably didn’t know about!
I’ll share tools that I personally use all the time. They’ve helped me become more organized, professional, and mobile, and my hope is that they’ll do the same for you. From managing your finances with Mint.com to monitoring your online influence with Klout to creating presentations directly on the iPad with Keynote, check weekly to see what topic I’m covering and how it can help make you a more productive version of yourself. Do you have a tool you’d like me to cover? What’s your favorite online productivity tool? Let me know in the comments section below.
This week’s Monday Productivity Pointers is all about Google+ Hangouts.
Microsoft recently launched the new Office 365 as well as Office 2013. You are not alone if the various products have created confusion for you.
To clarify, Office 365 refers to the subscription models for Office, not a specific version, and it delivers the Office programs as part of your subscription. With online storage, sharing and syncing with the Microsoft cloud, Office 365 has features to make it easier for teams to collaborate and communicate with familiar applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
If you subscribe to Office 365 and are running Office on a Windows 7 or Windows 8 machine, you will see Office 2013 as your user interface. This means if you are a subscriber to Office 365, the lynda.com courses titled with version 2013 will be relevant and helpful for you. Microsoft is expected to push out updates to Office 365 on a quarterly basis, so over time we expect greater differences between these offerings. Rest assured, we are working to address the anticipated divergence between Office 365 and Office 2013 in our future training courses.
Suggested courses to watch next:
Now that Microsoft has officially launched Office 365, we’d like to introduce you to our lineup of new Office training content.
You can use our new playlist feature to create your own personalized Office learning path. First determine which version of Office you’ll be using: Will you be starting with the cloud-based subscription Office 365? Or will you be taking the more traditional route with Office 2013? Note: if you are running Office 365 on a Windows 7 or 8, your version of Office will have the new features of Office 2013.
If you’re unfamiliar with the new Microsoft subscription model, I would suggest adding both David Rivers’s Up and Running with Office 365 and Curt Frye’s Up and Running with Office Web Apps to your playlist. David’s course introduces the Office 365 subscription model and how it works. Curt’s course takes you into the individual applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
The best course to start with to get an overall view of the latest Office features is David Rivers’s Office 2013 New Features. David walks you through the major applications in the suite: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, OneNote, and Outlook. Get a peek at integrating Office with the cloud. David covers the changes to the user interface, key new features, and product enhancements.
David Rivers shows you the suite.
David Rivers takes you through the changes in Office 2013.
David Rivers shows you how to use SkyDrive with Office 2013.
Once you’ve watched Office 2013 New Features, you’ll probably be ready to dive into your favorite Office application. We have more coming over the next few weeks, but to start you off we have Essential Training courses ready for SharePoint, Excel, Word, Access, Outlook, and PowerPoint.
If you use SharePoint, start off with Gini Courter’s SharePoint Foundation 2013 Essential Training. The Essential Training covers all the basics and features. You’ll also get a deeper look at how SharePoint integrates with all the Office applications.
Excel 2010 Essential Training has been one of our most highly viewed courses. Dennis Taylor takes you through all the basics from organizing your data to working with formulas, worksheets, pivot tables, and charts in Excel 2013 Essential Training.
Next up is David Rivers’s Word 2013 Essential Training. Learn the basics of creating and editing documents, using templates and building blocks, sharing and collaborating in documents, and working with tables.
If Access is more your thing, then take a look at Adam Wilbert’s course on Access 2013 Essential Training. Adam demonstrates how to create and work with tables, forms, reports, and macros and how to use that data in other Office applications such as Excel and Word.
Our newest staff author and productivity guru, Jess Stratton, has two Essential Training courses for you: PowerPoint 2013 Essential Training and Outlook 2013 Essential Training. In PowerPoint 2013 Essential Training, Jess shows you the basics of creating, editing, working with, and sharing presentations. In Outlook 2013 Essential Training, Jess gives you a tour of the interface and teaches you how to create, send, organize, and read mail; use contacts; leverage productivity with tasks and notes; and manage your day with Outlook.
Keep an eye on our new release list for more.
Interested in more?
When working on a website design or redesign project, have you ever encountered small, unanticipated fees in the course of doing business? These might include costs for stock photography, fonts, content management system extensions, domain name(s), static IP addresses … the list goes on!
Rather than paying this cost from your own budget, or hitting the client up with a bunch of little fees (which gets annoying on both sides), consider quoting a separate line item for website design and development fees. I typically budget roughly 10 percent of the total for this. This is for any additional costs for assembling the site. There’s no guarantee you’ll use this at all, but if you need it, the money is there!
Many of us understand the importance of investing money to make more money. A consistent investment strategy can help you gain a steady financial footing.
Do you have a similar plan to invest time in your professional development? Do you have a strategy to invest a little time to increase your value at your workplace?
I recommend these four steps to invest time in your professional development:
First, determine how much time, on a weekly basis, you are willing and have available to invest in your professional growth. For most people, somewhere between two and five hours a week is appropriate. Whatever you feel is appropriate, schedule that time in your calendar and set it aside as sacred.
Second, choose your area of focus. Pick an area where you don’t have responsibility yet or have yet to prove yourself. For instance, let’s say you’re a marketing assistant and want to become a marketing director. You may begin studying topics essential to becoming a marketing director and determining what types of projects and topics marketing directors initiate and manage.
Third, select your course materials for your area of focus. What do you need to study to reach your goal? As a lynda.com member, you have a wealth of classes to choose from in several areas. You can also create multiple playlists of courses that interest you and prioritize them to set learning goals. You might invest in relevant books and trade magazines or consult your local library for resources. You may also research software and company systems related to your desired position.
Fourth, make a commitment to deliver an assignment. Go to someone you know and respect and tell them what you are working on. Make a concrete commitment not only to the assignment, but also to a particular due date. Doing this will strengthen your personal commitment. It will also get the other person on your support team and possibly as an invested mentor.
These four steps are just a starting point for your professional growth. What other suggestions would you offer to help others invest in their own career? What actions have you taken that have helped you in your own career? Please comment on this page and I look forward to talking with you.
Interested in more?
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Marketing during the holidays can feel more like a “holidaze” for business owners and marketers. The busyness of the season can make connecting with new and prospective customers seem like a challenge. Since the holiday season is a unique time of year, let’s look at opportunities to make your marketing unique and authentic as well:
#1: Focus on your brand experience through service
Keep in mind, a brand, more than just a name and logo, is an overall customer experience composed of your products, messaging, promotions, pricing, points of distribution, service, and more. Customer service is an important lever through which consumers can form positive associations with your brand and products. Fortunately, a good customer service experience can turn even potentially negative brand or product experiences into positive ones, such as creating positive word of mouth and building a compelling story of authenticity for your brand.
This holiday season is an ideal time of year to make first-rate customer service a priority. Promotions via email, social media messages, and online ads create a lot of noise on the web. Instead of trying to scream above the promotional noise, look at how you can quietly step up service. Give extra attention to the customers you have in your funnel with the best service possible. Service can be as simple as emailing your customers and providing them with relevant tips for this busy season, or asking them if there are ways you can help them.
#2: Focus on building relationships
Your best customers are often your current customers. Have you critically looked at opportunities to build the business with the business you have? Take time to identify your best customers and make sure those customers feel appreciated during the holiday season. If you choose to give gifts, make sure they are meaningful gifts unique to your relationship or your company. If you don’t have a large gift budget, I have seen framed certificates with “Customer of the Year” awarded to customers, and simple team photos emailed with a personal greeting. You can make a big difference by sharing positive news on your website, blog, or newsletter that can remind customers why they chose to work with you in the first place.
#3: Say “thank you”
If you are struggling with marketing messaging, then just focus on a heartfelt thank-you. A thank-you message can be shared as a blog post, delivered as an email, snail mailed as a personally written card, delivered on social media, and posted to your website.
Make your marketing matter this holiday season and approach things uniquely and authentically from the inside out. Bridge the art and science of marketing with a little heart to warm up your marketing!
Interested in more?
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