Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Val Gabriel from Hewlett-Packard to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Val Gabriel

Product Manager

Hewlett-Packard

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  Val Gabriel

Good analytical skills. Be able to hear 200 individual pieces of information. Discard the 175 that have no bearing, and then tie the 25 pieces together into a compiling decision/path forward.

Patience: Not everything happens at the speed you would like. Push hard, don’t be afraid to voice your position, but know when to be patient. For this job you have to have an honest and real feel for customers. Who they are, what they want, where they buy, how much they spend, this allows you to target their needs better. The classic win/win, customer gets their needs fulfilled better and your company has a winning product.

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Administrative?
Administrative 
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their best operating under supervisors who give clear guidelines, and performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.

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Career Skills
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Task Skills

Task skills are a range of general skills that are important in order to be able to successfully complete many common tasks found in most work environments. They refer to general situations only - and are to be distinguished from the more occupation specific skills that come from specialist training.

Few jobs exist that would not benefit from a good level of competency in the categories below. Many of these skills can be improved by specific training, or through seeking out opportunities that would require you to gain more experience of the task.

It is reasonable to assume that employers will favor people who can demonstrate successful achievements in these areas.

Examples of Task Skills:

Planning / Organising Creates clear goals, identifies and finds the resources (e.g. time, people, materials) needed to achieve them, and schedules tasks so that work is completed on time.
Time management Takes the time to organise events and tasks carefully so as to use time efficiently. Uses a diary/planner to ensure tasks are undertaken
Practical skills Uses equipment, tools or technology effectively. Easily follows instructions and shows willingness to use whatever tools or technology is required.
Computer skills Confidently uses a computer to write documents, browse the internet or use email programs. Can save files, locate them efficiently and print them.
Problem solving Shows interest in finding the cause of problems, looks for and chooses effective solutions and takes the necessary action to resolve them.
Business awareness Shows understanding of the main business activities of the company/organisation. Has a good sense of the business opportunities available, and the primary competitors.
Customer focus Shows understanding and concern for customers’ needs, is helpful and friendly to them, and deals effectively with any questions or complaints they may have.
Your Career Skills distinguish you from others more than you might think!
Where do I start?
You can use the exercise on this downloadable worksheet to discover the most sought after skills needed to get jobs in the modern workplace. By rating yourself on these skills, you can see where your strengths and weaknesses may lie. Then, you can look for opportunities to develop and practice your underdeveloped skills.

Download:
Worksheet - Career Skills Self-Assessment
[pdf - 540Kb, 4 pages]
Download Self-Assement Worksheet