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Five fast ways to boost your job prospects

The pace of change in today's workplaces can seem daunting for anyone. That's especially true if you’ve moved abroad for professional or personal reasons and you’re still adjusting to a new working culture.

Five fast ways to boost your job prospects
Photo: Getty Images

But is it really time for millions of us to make way for the robots? Evidence suggests that in fact demand is growing for interpersonal human skills, as well as technological know-how. 

One thing is for sure: whatever aspect of yourself you wish to improve, finding the time is not easy! The Local has teamed up with GetSmarter, which provides online education courses in collaboration with leading universities such as the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), to offer you five ways you can boost your career prospects in 100 hours or less. 

Need a career boost? Find out about the MBA Essentials online certificate course from LSE and GetSmarter

1. Work on your ‘soft skills’

If you fear being left behind by today’s rapidly changing world, you’re not alone. But did you know that experts say essential human skills are becoming more rather than less important in the workplace?

It’s a “common misconception” that you won’t be able to thrive without advanced technological or scientific skills, says the World Economic Forum (WEF). This idea is also supported by a survey of business leaders in Europe and North America carried out by the McKinsey Global Institute to identify the skills that would be most in-demand by 2030. 

It found the need for social and emotional skills will increase during the 2020s, alongside demand for technological expertise.  

Defining and measuring ‘soft skills’ is less than straightforward. But creativity tops a recent LinkedIn list of the soft skills companies most need, followed by persuasion and collaboration. So, if 2020 has sapped your spirit, spend some time indulging your creative side!

2. Show some empathy and EQ!

A new entry in the LinkedIn list this year was ‘emotional intelligence’. This quality includes self-awareness, social skills, empathy and motivation. If you’re sceptical, be aware that some employers ask job applicants probing questions designed to measure your EQ (emotional quotient).

You can sharpen your EQ by embracing criticism as a learning opportunity and exploring the ‘why’ in every situation, says LinkedIn.

Never heard of ‘digital body language’? Amid the rise in remote working due to Covid-19, experts also advise that striking the right tone of voice in emails and texts is more important than ever. If you live abroad, you’re probably already wary of potential misunderstandings but thinking in terms of emotional intelligence as well as language may be wise.

Photo: Getty Images

3. Get proactive about lifelong learning

Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell popularised the idea that 10,000 hours of practice is the key to achieving greatness. But that’s three hours per day for a decade! 

You may already have missed your chance to make a living as a chess grandmaster or a virtuoso on the violin. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t be serious about lifelong learning.

Want to be a lifelong learner? Take your first step with MBA Essentials from LSE and GetSmarter 

The WEF has called for a “global reskilling revolution”. It says organisations should encourage their workers to keep developing – but that each of us can also “take responsibility for upgrading our skills”. According to the WEF Future of Jobs Report, highly-skilled workers are most likely to be hired, retrained – and receive pay rises.

Of course, dedicating yourself to lifelong learning will require significant amounts of time over the years. But imagine what you could gain if you spent the first 100 hours (that’s one percent of 10,000 hours!) addressing one of your weaknesses … 

4. Don’t give up on digital tech …

Demand for basic tech skills, as well as advanced capabilities, will rise sharply by 2030, according to McKinsey. So while it’s easy to feel the future belongs to coders, AI programmers and blockchain developers, you really can make a good impression without mastering Python or Java! 

As automation advances, people with a sophisticated understanding of digital technology will be very much in the minority. Remember that spending some time continuing to improve your basic digital skills could make all the difference at a job interview or when seeking a promotion.  

5. Just Get Smarter! 

Given the chance to return to studying or do some intensive training, you could no doubt boost your career outlook. But just how do you find the time these days?

Well, one way is to take on a challenge such as the MBA Essentials online certificate course from the world-renowned LSE. In just ten weeks (and around 95 hours of total learning), you’ll develop a better understanding of the complexities of today’s business environment – and gain skills and insights designed to help you lead with confidence.

You’ll get a personalised and flexible learning experience, entirely online – and which you can plan around your existing commitments as you tick off weekly milestones.

Delivered in collaboration with GetSmarter, the course is guided by LSE faculty who teach MBA-focused skills covering strategy, finance, and people. 

Impatient to improve yourself and move forward in the business world even quicker? Check out these online certificate courses also offered by LSE and GetSmarter: Business, International Relations and the Political Economy (80 hours of learning in eight weeks) and Competitive Strategy and Innovation (70 hours in eight weeks).

Learn from a world-leading social science university in your own time: click here to find out more about the MBA Essentials online certificate course.

 

 

EDUCATION

Schools to close as French teachers strike over Covid rules

Around three-quarters of French teachers plan to go on strike onThursday to protest the government's shifting rules on Covid testing for students, forcing the closure of half the country's primary schools, a union said Tuesday.

Schools to close as French teachers strike over Covid rules
Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP

The strike led by the Snuipp-FSU union, the largest among primary school teachers, comes after the latest of several changes on testing and isolation requirements for potential Covid cases announced by Prime Minister Jean Castex late Monday.

After seeing long lines of parents outside pharmacies and labs in recent days to test children in classes where a case was detected, Castex said home tests could now be used to determine if a student could return to school.

But teachers say class disruptions have become unmanageable with the spread of the highly contagious Omicron coronavirus variant.

“Students cannot learn properly because attendance varies wildly, and a hybrid of in-house and distance learning is impossible to put in place,” the Snuipp-FSU said, adding that absent teachers are not being replaced.

It is also demanding the government provide facemasks for staff, including the more protective FFP2 masks, and CO2 monitors to check if classrooms are sufficiently ventilated.

“Not only does the current protocol not protect students, staff or their families, it has completely disorganised schools,” the union said, claiming that classes have effectively been turned into “daycare centres.”

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer has said the government is doing everything possible to avoid outright school closures that could cause havoc for parents and jeopardise learning for thousands, especially those in low-income families.

“I know there is a lot of fatigue, of anxiety… but you don’t go on strike against a virus,” Blanquer told BFM television on Tuesday.

As of Monday some 10,000 classes had been shut nationwide because of Covid cases, representing around two percent of all primary school classes, Blanquer said.

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