Planning your Career

Limited skills and/knowledge can put your career in a corner.

Are you putting all of your eggs in one nest—no back up—all of your valuables in one location or category? Certainly not; it’s far too risky to put all your eggs in one basket. And yet, you’d be surprised how many people (manage their careers) with a limited skills approach. Many invest their talents in a narrow field of interest and never reach out to learn a new skill.

You could argue this approach with some jobs at certain times in our history. But times have changed, and so have business strategies. While it’s still true that a solid career is built on a knowledge foundation of position-specific expertise, it’s become increasingly important to maintain a balanced portfolio. Be more than a subject-matter expert in one category and add new tools to your tool-box.

business man writing business strategy

When employers look for talent, they typically focus on people with the proficiency to perform certain tasks very well. But what they really want—especially in today’s hyper-competitive business- market—is an adaptable growing source of knowledge, whose broad-based set of skills crosses over into a variety of disciplines.

Want an example of how things really are?

Listen in on any meeting in which star performers are present. You’re likely to hear a functional business manager having a dialog with their technical colleague on the latest technology; or an engineer reviewing a budget and discussing profit and loss with a controller; or a CFO pondering the benefits of a product marketing opportunity.

In other words, as organizations flatten, more is expected from each individual contributor. Which means that versatility is not only fashionable, it’s become a key ingredient in modern-day career progression.

Now, no one is suggesting you spread yourself so thin as to master nothing at all. If you want to reach top-percentile status in today’s complicated job market, you’ll need an (expanded arsenal of skills) to compete. To round out your resume, look for areas of weakness and try to develop them into strengths. Know your competition and review other on-line resumes in your career path and make yourself aware of what others are bringing to the job market.

By gaining knowledge in areas that were formerly considered the domain of “somebody else,” you’ll increase your overall market value. The more knowledge and abilities in your tool-box you can offer the greater the chance to compete for a desired opportunity.

Limited skills and/knowledge can put your career in a corner.

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