Skills for 2013: It’s Not About Tools or Technology

I was reading Must-Have Job Skills in 2013, and I was struck by the skills Mantell says job-seekers must have:

  • Clear communications
  • Personal branding
  • Flexibility
  • Productivity improvement

Here’s what these mean for great geeks:

Communications mean you have to be able to discuss what you mean with and without the correct jargon. With jargon, you still have to be able to explain what’s going on. Without jargon, especially to the rest of the organization, you have to be able to make a case. If you’re a tester, can you advocate for a defect? If you’re a developer, can you explain why one framework is better than another?

I was surprised to see that personal branding is on the list. That means that your Twitter profile, your blog, your brand is not just yours, it’s also represents your organization. Social media is not just social, it’s personal. In my never humble opinion, this means your writing skills are even more important than ever.

If companies are demanding more flexibility of employees, I hope they are willing to provide the same. I like learning new things. In my job, I get to learn new things all the time. But I see this in competition with increased productivity.

If companies want improved productivity, that’s great. I always want to improve my productivity, too. It takes time to learn how to improve. If you’re looking for a new job, show your potential employers how you improved things at your previous jobs. In the article, this was dangerously close to mind-reading, which is impossible.

But the biggest thing I saw here was a lack of emphasis on tools and technology. This is really big. Finally, hiring managers are seeing that great people can learn new tools quickly. It’s not hard to learn technology–we do it all the time. What’s difficult is getting that cultural fit thing right.

These skills are all part of hiring for cultural fit. Maybe these skills aren’t the ones you’re worried about. But, if you are worried about how to hire for cultural fit, read Hiring Geeks That Fit.

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