Career development is a never-ending thing. You don’t just land the job and boom, that’s it, you’re done. From one opportunity another one grows and there are certain employable skills you can brush up on to ensure you’re giving yourself the best chance for professional growth. A lot of those can be on-the-job experiences as long as you’re looking out for the right opportunities. Others require a little extra training.

1. Communication

From being able to verbally communicate with your peers and your management to non-verbal communication like body language, the way you interact with your work team is so important to getting the job done and therefore your employability.

This means you should think about what you’re trying to say and how to get that across before you send that email or call that meeting. It just as importantly means listening to others. Also be aware of the body language you use and the tone of your voice.

How do you improve? A lot of this one is something you learn as you go. Be observant of anyone you work with who gets their point across clearly and try to learn from them.

2. Learning

Learning is never done. You’ll find yourself learning something new all the time at work, but what about if you want a promotion that involves a slightly different skill set? What if you just know a few people are going for the promotion you want and you’d like to make yourself stand out from the crowd? Check out your local TAFE, universities and private colleges for short courses or specific study areas that will teach your the skills you need and improve your work prospects.

3. Problem-solving

Just about every job is basically coming up with solutions to one extent or another, so improving your ability to do so is going to make you a great candidate. The ways you can improve on this skill are different to what you might imagine.

Beyond real-world experience, it’s suggested that logical games and puzzles can help, as well as good old-fashioned exercise to get the blood pumping to the brain. Oh and enough sleep, of course, so your brain is firing on all cylinders.

It’s also suggested that you shift your thinking focus from ‘problems’ to ‘solutions’. If you’re too bogged down trying to figure out whose fault the problem is, that’s less energy you’ll be spending on just getting it sorted.

4. Initiative

Being able to speak up and make improvements at your workplace without being prompted is a highly prized skill. Why? It’s a skill that helps you prevent obstacles before they even occur and make improvements where others may not have even realised improvement was needed. How can you tell if you’re exercising this skill at work?

Do you make suggestions at meetings? Do you try to problem-solve before involving your manager? Are you comfortable communicating freely with your manager? Have you ever started new work or asked for new assignments, rather than waiting for the work to come to you? If you’re shaking your head at most of these, don’t worry, practice makes perfect.

5. Planning and organising

This one pretty much does what it says on the tin. If employee A is always on time to work and with their deadlines, and employee B is clearly a bit all over the place, who do you think is viewed more favourably? Yup, the organised one.

Everyone has different styles, but sometimes the perception of your managers can be really important. If you know your planning and organisation skills could do with some polishing, try writing yourself task lists, making schedules and creating a comprehensible filing system.

6. Technology

Technology is constantly improving and evolving. Whether you’re in a specifically technology-related field or not, you’re going to need to keep up with at least a base knowledge of new tech to stay relevant and keep up. Sometimes you’ll get training on the job, but if you really want to impress and even lead the way, there are plenty of study options to keep you up to date.

7. Teamwork

Yeeeep this means learning to get along and be productive with your workmates even if you don’t particularly like them. Although sometimes we can be even more distracted when we DO like them. Also, finding the balance between doing your part and completely taking over is a skill in and of itself.

8.Self-management

It’s completely ok to ask for clarification when you need it and obviously, you’ll need more direction at the start of a new job. But overall, an employee who is able to manage their own time and tasks without the need for constant supervision is highly regarded.