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Five fast ways to boost your job prospects

The pace of change in today's workplaces can seem daunting for anyone. That's especially true if you’ve moved abroad for professional or personal reasons and you’re still adjusting to a new working culture.

Five fast ways to boost your job prospects
Photo: Getty Images

But is it really time for millions of us to make way for the robots? Evidence suggests that in fact demand is growing for interpersonal human skills, as well as technological know-how. 

One thing is for sure: whatever aspect of yourself you wish to improve, finding the time is not easy! The Local has teamed up with GetSmarter, which provides online education courses in collaboration with leading universities such as the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), to offer you five ways you can boost your career prospects in 100 hours or less. 

Need a career boost? Find out about the MBA Essentials online certificate course from LSE and GetSmarter

1. Work on your ‘soft skills’

If you fear being left behind by today’s rapidly changing world, you’re not alone. But did you know that experts say essential human skills are becoming more rather than less important in the workplace?

It’s a “common misconception” that you won’t be able to thrive without advanced technological or scientific skills, says the World Economic Forum (WEF). This idea is also supported by a survey of business leaders in Europe and North America carried out by the McKinsey Global Institute to identify the skills that would be most in-demand by 2030. 

It found the need for social and emotional skills will increase during the 2020s, alongside demand for technological expertise.  

Defining and measuring ‘soft skills’ is less than straightforward. But creativity tops a recent LinkedIn list of the soft skills companies most need, followed by persuasion and collaboration. So, if 2020 has sapped your spirit, spend some time indulging your creative side!

2. Show some empathy and EQ!

A new entry in the LinkedIn list this year was ‘emotional intelligence’. This quality includes self-awareness, social skills, empathy and motivation. If you’re sceptical, be aware that some employers ask job applicants probing questions designed to measure your EQ (emotional quotient).

You can sharpen your EQ by embracing criticism as a learning opportunity and exploring the ‘why’ in every situation, says LinkedIn.

Never heard of ‘digital body language’? Amid the rise in remote working due to Covid-19, experts also advise that striking the right tone of voice in emails and texts is more important than ever. If you live abroad, you’re probably already wary of potential misunderstandings but thinking in terms of emotional intelligence as well as language may be wise.

Photo: Getty Images

3. Get proactive about lifelong learning

Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell popularised the idea that 10,000 hours of practice is the key to achieving greatness. But that’s three hours per day for a decade! 

You may already have missed your chance to make a living as a chess grandmaster or a virtuoso on the violin. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t be serious about lifelong learning.

Want to be a lifelong learner? Take your first step with MBA Essentials from LSE and GetSmarter 

The WEF has called for a “global reskilling revolution”. It says organisations should encourage their workers to keep developing – but that each of us can also “take responsibility for upgrading our skills”. According to the WEF Future of Jobs Report, highly-skilled workers are most likely to be hired, retrained – and receive pay rises.

Of course, dedicating yourself to lifelong learning will require significant amounts of time over the years. But imagine what you could gain if you spent the first 100 hours (that’s one percent of 10,000 hours!) addressing one of your weaknesses … 

4. Don’t give up on digital tech …

Demand for basic tech skills, as well as advanced capabilities, will rise sharply by 2030, according to McKinsey. So while it’s easy to feel the future belongs to coders, AI programmers and blockchain developers, you really can make a good impression without mastering Python or Java! 

As automation advances, people with a sophisticated understanding of digital technology will be very much in the minority. Remember that spending some time continuing to improve your basic digital skills could make all the difference at a job interview or when seeking a promotion.  

5. Just Get Smarter! 

Given the chance to return to studying or do some intensive training, you could no doubt boost your career outlook. But just how do you find the time these days?

Well, one way is to take on a challenge such as the MBA Essentials online certificate course from the world-renowned LSE. In just ten weeks (and around 95 hours of total learning), you’ll develop a better understanding of the complexities of today’s business environment – and gain skills and insights designed to help you lead with confidence.

You’ll get a personalised and flexible learning experience, entirely online – and which you can plan around your existing commitments as you tick off weekly milestones.

Delivered in collaboration with GetSmarter, the course is guided by LSE faculty who teach MBA-focused skills covering strategy, finance, and people. 

Impatient to improve yourself and move forward in the business world even quicker? Check out these online certificate courses also offered by LSE and GetSmarter: Business, International Relations and the Political Economy (80 hours of learning in eight weeks) and Competitive Strategy and Innovation (70 hours in eight weeks).

Learn from a world-leading social science university in your own time: click here to find out more about the MBA Essentials online certificate course.

 

 

EDUCATION

Why ETH Zurich has been ranked the ‘best university in continental Europe’

A new international survey of universities has ranked Zurich’s Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) the highest in the world outside the US and the UK. How does this school excel?

Why ETH Zurich has been ranked the 'best university in continental Europe'
ETH's main hall. Photo by Zurich.ch

The Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2022 have placed ETH in the 15th place (out of 1,600 surveyed worldwide). The school dropped from the 14th-place ranking the previous year.

Universities in the United Kingdom and the United States hold all of the top rankings ahead of ETH Zurich.

But as the top 14 are not in continental Europe, this means ETH has the unofficial title of the of best in Europe.

What is ETH and what does it do?

It is a public research university focusing exclusively on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics

It has a “sister” school located in Lausanne, the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), which specialises in natural sciences and engineering. 

The EPFL ranked in the 40th place in the survey.

Why has ETH scored so high in the study?

“Our strategy is derived from our federal mandate to conduct fundamental research, train specialists and transfer new knowledge to the economy and society,” said ETH President Joël Mesot.

University ranking methodology is based on scores for high-​level indicators relating to teaching, research, international perspective, and collaboration with industry.

“ETH’s overall scores show improvement in teaching, research, and publication citations”, the university’s rankings expert Paul Cross said.

However, it dropped slightly in terms of industry income and international outlook.

“Competition is fierce at the top tier of the rankings”, Cross noted. 

Here are some interesting facts about ETH:

  • It was founded in 1855 by the Swiss government to train engineers and scientists.
  • Today 18,000 students from over 100 different countries study at ETZ, 3,800 of whom are doctoral students.
  • So far, 21 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to researchers who have or had a connection with ETH Zurich.
  • While tuition in the top-ranking schools in the UK — Oxford and Cambridge — costs well over 10,000 francs each year, and in the in the US universities, such as Yale, Harvard, Stanford and Caltech, the annual tuition exceeds 50,000 a year, at ETH it is 1,460 francs.

In all, Switzerland is home to seven of the world’s top universities. Aside from ETH and EPFL, they are University of Zurich (75th place), University of Bern (101st), Universities of Basel and Geneva (103rd), University of Lausanne (176th).

Complete ranking can be seen here.

READ MORE: Why Switzerland leads the world in innovation (Partner content)

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