You need to be good at something; you need to be able to contribute something valuable to your employer.
The information coming out of industry now is that people need to have a particular skill they excel at, being a generalist is no longer as acceptable as it once was.
You need to know people; links with peers and others within and outside the organisation are essential to get things done.
You will hear the terms networking, stakeholder engagement, relationship management and all these will refer to the ability for you to develop and maintain meaningful contacts throughout your working career.
When I first started working at the University I was working on a project to see whether there was any market viability for offering an Associate Degree in Local Government, and I had to meet with all the General Managers and Mayors in the North and North West. As I had just left local government I had all the required contacts to get the project done because I knew the General Managers. When I managed to get into their diaries when I contacted them and get the work done quickly. However, if I had not made those connections with other councils in the State during my time in local government it would have taken a lot longer to get that piece of work completed.
You must act as if you are running your own business, spotting ideas and opportunities, and stepping out to embrace them.
In many organisations financial constraints are becoming very common but you can only cut a budget so far before you can’t operate at all so employers are looking for people who will come up with new ways of doing things that can provide efficiencies to the organisation. It is no longer satisfactory to accept that we do things this way because we have always done them that way, we need to be creative in our thought process to see if there is a better or more efficient way to do something especially with the changing nature of technology.
Love of technology
You have to embrace technology, you do not have to be a technician, but you must be willing and able to fully utilise IT effectively and creatively.
We have already covered this well in the challenges that face a contemporary workplace but we also need to acknowledge that technology is an opportunity as much as it can be a challenge. It may not always work out how you imagined but at least be willing to give it a go.
You need to be able to communicate your successes and progress, both yours personally and those of your work group.
Marketing yourself is a hard one for some people as we come from a culture where it can be perceived as bragging if we try to talk up our successes. We need to get past this because from experience if you don’t market yourself no one else is going to do it for you. Of course it is much easier to market the efforts of the team as it is a group effort and the success is shared.
Passion for renewal
You need to be continuously learning and changing and updating yourself to best meet future demands.
You will most probably hear me going on about the merits of being a lifelong learner throughout this subject but I believe in it completely. I also believe that no matter how much experience you have or no matter how many degrees, you can always learn something new or consider a better way of doing things. However, you do have to be prepared to be challenged and to listen to the opinions of others.