Change; The only constant. It’s the only thing that keeps on going. In work, industry and any market, fashion or industrial trend, change is something that keeps any old idea, new for generations. In sales and marketing, the cycle of change is inevitable when it comes to promotion and driving sales. In some societies like for example in Hong Kong, this change is more frequent and more robust than in Malaysia. Marketers come up with a plethora of ways to make common goods continually appeal to the consumer. Simply put, change is the innovation that drives markets.
In the advertising industry, there is ultimately one goal. To find the unique selling points of a customer’s product or brand, come up with targeted creatives for print, web, tv, radio or any other suitable media for sales, brand awareness and market share. The term “We’ll bend backwards for the client” comes from this fun but very serious industry. Creative people spend endless hours and nights to finely craft that expert message both visually and with words to win customers, the ultimate audience.
Now as a human being, isn’t it the same? If we spend a lot of time perfecting something else then why not invest some considerable time on yourself. Truthfully, the same looking resume loses appeal over time and truthfully, we’ve spent more on our cars over the years than we’ve ever done on our own medical check-ups. Upgrading and improving yourself will certainly make you more appealing to your target audience.
Soft and Hard Skills
There are plenty of soft and hard skills that are required by employers. These are industry diverse but to keep it concise, we can list 5 soft skills which are creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and emotional intelligence.
- Creativity is the ability to think outside the box for solutions to problems. It shouldn’t be time intensive but just a quick and effective fix. In the Information Age, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to go to a bookstore or the internet to get this going.
- Persuasion is the art of communication to get things done your way. May we suggest you read “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie.
- Collaboration and Adaptability. Collaboration simply means the ability to work with people. And if you can’t adapt to your colleagues who’ve been worming there longer, it simply means you can’t work with your new employer. So working with people is important for the company to sail on smoothly.
- Emotional Intelligence simply means maturity. If instead of using your powers of persuasion, you find yourself complaining and emotionally disturbed, then you are not quite ready for the workforce. Social skills are lacking over here. The best remedy for this is go talk to a friend who is older, working much longer and possibly married. He or she may be able to impart some awareness to you abut how to behave and conduct yourself at work. This is especially important if you’re young and haven’t worked that long or you’re having problems with people at work.
- Burnish your image and employability online. By having a good presence online you can be noticed. Start a blog, contribute to the community with some giving and join a prominent club or association. This way, you’ll be known. You can participate in the club’s activities and make some important friends along the way.
- Hard Skills are industry specific skills like sales and marketing and the new ones like Blockchain and Cloud computing as well as UI/UX Design, Video Production and Analyst type jobs. Again these are industry specific and constantly changing with the landscape so we would say, “Keeping up with the Trends” is also a skill and learning with intent which brings us to our next point.
We seem to have a tendency to continually work and gain experience from that work, and that,.. we think that is satisfactory. Some people jump from company to company for more pay and different experiences. While this may be the reality, we feel it’s not the only way to learn and this is called intentional learning.
According to the American Accounting Association (1995):
“Intentional learning is the persistent, continual process to acquire, understand, and use a variety of strategies to improve one’s ability to attain an apply knowledge”
“Intentional learning refers to cognitive learning as a goal rather than an incidental outcome.”
The intentional learner is someone who:
1. is motivated to learn
2. takes responsibility for learning
3. actively engages in strategies that facilitate learning
Although the intentional learner is self-directed, instructors can help create environments better suited for intentional learning. An intentional learning environment is one which fosters activity and feedback and creates a culture that fosters metacognition, i.e., one in which the learner becomes aware of his or her learning process and can use to tools (mental or technological) to enhance this learning process. According to intentional learning theory, it’s less important for the learner to pass tests than it is for the learner to be able to organise and apply knowledge. (Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1989).
Experience is a good teacher. However, the idea that experience alone can get us ahead is inaccurate. In life, there are some mistakes that we need not make by drawing on the experience of others.
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