10 Must-Have Skills and Must-Read Books for Today's Worker

U.S.News & World Report

What do employers' value? What are they really looking for? According to Natasha Dalzell-Martinez, a research director with Apollo Group, parent company of University of Phoenix, these are the top 10 qualities employers seek today. As a job seeker, employee, and/or a business of one, you will want to develop and promote these qualities in terms that are quantifiable and meaningful to your future or current boss. Try developing these qualities by picking up the books mentioned.

1. Adaptability. How well do you adjust to changes, small and large? Can you switch priorities rapidly and without complaint? When you understand personal motivators, you find a way to make change work for you and others. Drive, written by Daniel H. Pink, exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does and how that affects every aspect of life.

2. Accessing, analyzing, and synthesizing information. Organizations are acquiring more data due to technology. Tools such as customer relationship databases, newsletter subscribers, website analytics, surveys, and social media followers each require interpretation. Making sense out of it all takes an analytical approach, therefore you will want to develop your ability to translate information into meaningful return on investment data. The End of Business As Usual by Brian Solis, a keynote speaker, prominent blogger, and a principal analyst at Altimeter Group, explores this complex information revolution, how it has changed the future of business, media, and culture, and what you can do about it.

3. Communication. There are more communication vehicles today and each has a different purpose. Not to mention people have different preferences. Be able to master as many as possible and know how and when to use each for maximum results. Build your skills and awareness by reading How to Win Friends & Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie & Associates.

4. Critical thinking. How well do you use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions or approaches to problems? Good to Great by Jim Collins shows you how success isn't always about being the best, it is about doing the right things.

5. Collaboration. Cooperating with others and being a likeable team member has become important as departments and divisions and groups build solutions together. Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist of Apple and co-founder of Alltop.com, is based on the premise that your goal is not merely to get what you want but to bring about a voluntary, enduring, and delightful change in other people. Being likable and trustworthy, plus framing a cause that others can embrace can change hearts, minds, and actions.

6. Entrepreneurship. An entrepreneur has a determination and hunger to succeed. They have a sense of ownership to the project or task and will do almost anything to make it successful. Become inspired by the thoughts and ideas behind a fast-moving entrepreneur. Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk, the self-trained wine and social media expert, shows you how you can use your passion to think like an entrepreneur.

7. Global citizenship. We are no longer isolated countries. We are a global community providing services and products without boundaries. Just read Thomas L. Friedman's The World Is Flat to better understand how and why this has occurred and will continue to exist.

8. Innovation. Challenge the status quo. To grow and compete, individuals and organizations need to innovate or develop and implement new ideas. Any book by Seth Godin is a good choice to expand your thinking and push the envelope. Perhaps Poke the Box will ignite your innovative side.

9. Leadership. As a leader of yourself or a leader of others, growing strong leadership skills will help you thrive and survive. The organizations that embrace today's leadership style are not using control and command techniques. They build a culture of mutual respect based on a common mission and vision and each individual is empowered to take ownership. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Zappos' CEO Tony Hsieh shows you how successful this new model can be.

10. Productivity and accountability. At the end of the day, what matters to an organization is profitability. Can you track your productivity to the bottom line? Are you holding yourself and others accountable for not just meeting, but exceeding expectations? Stephen R. Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People should send you on your way to maximizing your time, energy, and efficiency.

Hannah Morgan is a speaker and author providing no-nonsense career advice; she guides job seekers and helps them navigate today's treacherous job search terrain. Hannah shares information about the latest trends, such as reputation management, social networking strategies, and other effective search techniques on her blog, Career Sherpa.

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