Are Your Technology Skills Confirmed Or Busted?

a bunch of rooftop antennas make technology a bit daunting

Technology skills need to be sharpened, just like antenna reception.

When kids are tweeting all the time from their mobile, parents may dismiss the significance of the technology. But when someone over 40 says Twitter is just for teens, people assume they are too old to figure it out.

Why some people almost always do better

Imagine drawing on the talents of a global network of designers or writers sending hundreds of ideas, instead of a few folks who happen to be nearby. Imagine knowing how to take a screen shot and drop images into a virtual box, instead of bookmarking every useful add-on or page. Imagine a SlideShare appearing under your LinkedIn profile, instead of yet more text.

Can you do this now? And if not, why is that?

Do the hard work of learning technology thoroughly enough so that your skills are truly up to par. That means highly useable tech skills, not passable ones.

In the show Mythbusters, they test myths to see if one could build a bridge entirely of duct tape, for example. The myths are then confirmed, or busted. Similarly, your skills must be “confirmed” or you will be “busted”. You will lose the power of a strong first impression if the hiring manager senses that you are no match for the candidate from a top shop, or the Facebook aficionado who feels supremely confident with all things techie.

No one wants to hold your hand getting you up to speed

Managers don’t want to feel that they’ll have to teach you to use Google Docs, or any other software or interface that is standard. Temp agencies won’t send you to that insurance gig if your Excel skills needs polishing. Don’t be the person who is asked, “Do you use Skype?” A professional should intuit from the very first moment they come across you that of course, you do!

The Mojo mindset means you will create the capacity in your busy life to learn what you may be afraid of, with a non-stop effort to:

  1. Master state-of-the-art technology
  2. Befriend digital networks and
  3. Become comfortable with all sorts of edgy, cool software and websites, that will lay a foundation for more effective job or gig searching

Will you spend all your time online? Certainly not. But invest your time and put your ego aside to start from wherever you are, novice or intermediate level, to get ahead of your competition, web-wise.

Mediocre doesn’t cut it with respect to industry-specific technical skills

In addition to general digital know-how, you must be sharp in the technical skills and software programs that are essential to the particular industry or job function that you want. You won’t have the benefit of theatrical special effects or half-an-hour to prove your case, like in Mythbusters. For architects, this may mean understanding Google’s SketchUp. For sales or higher-level tech support jobs, this may be fluency in presentation software such as Camtasia or ViewletBuilder. For the legal sector, be competent in the latest versions of Lexis/Nexis or WestLaw before you reach out to the network, otherwise someone will wonder where have you been.

Know the concepts and feel the experience

You need to know the concepts and feel the experience of strong internet skills, even if you don’t want to be the master of granular details. So befriend webinars and podcasts. Have a girl-talk party with three buddies simultaneously on instant message. Ask incisive questions to open forums. Get intimate with every aspect of your industry online, including the social media sites that you overlook.

Don’t just skim, do it. Your kids can show you how to upload a video or make a blog, can’t they? Use the time milling on the soccer sidelines to speak with people who are ahead of you and ask for their tips. (That’s how I was introduced to Flip Video™, when it first came out.) Get in the habit of reading editor’s choices of top tools, gadgets and applications, and then sign up for freebies and make small investments to boost your productivity. You choose: daily contests on Facebook, social media management sites like Tweetdeck, headsets that allow you to talk and type simultaneously.

In the Resource section, we’ve sifted the myriad choices to point you to our favorites.

Using the tools we show you, you will become:

  • More productive
  • Better defined in your personal branding, and
  • More significant to hiring managers and influencers

As you become more educated not in the traditional sense of college and law school, but in the street sense of LinkedIn and Twitter, you are going to transform your thinking.

Mojo Moves

  • Talk with someone you know who is a leader in your industry and ask what digital tools, software, and systems they think are required
  • Look up the top technology and productivity tools for entrepreneurs or small businesses - lists are all over the Internet – and go through them, one by one. Incorporate at least one software application or tool that matches your needs, this very first week
  • Set a goal for yourself technology-wise, break it into several intermediate steps, and block out time weekly to work on your skills. Use your Accountability Wingman as a sounding board, to ensure your commitment doesn’t waver

Got a favorite tech site, tip, or device that’s made a big difference for you? Share it in the comments below.

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Did you enjoy this post?
  • Bruce Segall

    Diane suggested that I use igoogle for blog/RSS feeds. It’s really the easiest thing and avoids weekly emails! Thank you Diane and Mojo40.

    • Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      You’re welcome… I believe lots of folks will also appreciate the de-clutter, and get more and more into the habit of using RSS readers!

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It’s about getting you up to speed with today’s digital networking tools, and sharing a roadmap to elevate your career that doesn’t assume you grew up with wi-fi in your bassinet. Ready to get your career mojo back?

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