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A skill set is an important stepping stone to career advancement

skill set-5Have you ever encountered the question – “What is your USP” in an interview? Most of the candidates fumble when this question is put up. They either have not worked on developing a skill set or they don’t know about it. Most of the industries and businesses provide the time to the new candidates to specialize in a particular field or area. They also support them with the relevant training programs.

Skill setProduction performance: Let us try to understand the concept through some examples. People are very happy to work on production lines in the industry as it gives them very good growth prospects to rise to the CEO position one day. They are very happy to collect and highlight the production figures to everyone on a daily basis. They take special pride in announcing that they made 8 more numbers today and set a new benchmark. A Japanese gentleman asked the production in-charge – “what did you do today?” The production supervisor proudly replied – “I did the production of 2434 parts today.” The Japanese smiled and said, “the workers did the production, what did you do?” The production in-charge fumbled and said I managed them. The Japanese just laughed and went away. The production in-charge stood there totally puzzled.

Skill set-1Desired output: It is that way in most of the offices and industry. We are generally doing our work and we have not specialized at anything. The Japanese would have been pleased if the production in-charge had said “I used the problem-solving technique at the bottleneck machine. By resolving the issue, we were able to increase the production by 1 part per hour on this machine. So the line output has gone up by 8 parts today. Here is the methodology we followed….”

skill set-2The skill set: There are so many areas where you can specialize and greatly enhance your skills. You hear a lot about computer programmers who develop software skills. Similarly, there are people who develop very good man-management skills. These human resource managers can motivate and control a large number of people by putting their skills to use.

skill set-3USP: The mastery in the skill set becomes your unique selling point (USP) and will remain with you for your entire career. The best time to acquire it is in the early part of your career when you are in the learning phase. Just go with the area that interests you and you will see the things falling in place around you. Push the HR guy and your boss to get you the requisite training till you master the art. You will get the time to experiment; make the mistakes and hone your skills.

skill set-4Change of strategy: But there is a catch. As you reach the middle management stage of your career, the USP carries you through with flying colors. From here the strategies will change as a broader outlook is required to move into the senior management. Not that you do away with your skill set, but from now on it becomes one of the career advancement tools. Remember that we talked about conviction as the hallmark of the people with successful careers. A strong skill set, where none of your colleagues can challenge you, forms the stepping stone to career advancement.

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The author is a veteran of the Indian automobile industry having spent more than 30 years there. The articles are based on the experience and learnings gathered during the course of his career. The writing is also interspersed with the advances and change ideas influencing the careers of the people.


  1. Excellent article. I enjoyed reading it.

    • Very much enthusiastic article to me.
      Thank you.

  2. Right, skill is the most important for progressive career. This is the first step to build a career. So we should careful to set our skill to start a career,I like this article very much .

  3. I have used many skills at my current job, but my favorite is affiliate marketing.

  4. I agree with this article

  5. I think all of us need skill development for any time

  6. Definitely we need skill to build a career.This is so much powerful.

  7. Every employer is looking for a specific set of skills from job-seekers that match the skills necessary to perform a particular job.

  8. The article clearly brings out what is happening in the industry. Everyone is running after the numbers and not doing any useful work. We are totally dependent on the workmen and take pride in ourselves when they achieve a higher output. Little do we work on finding why the production went up or down and try to fix the bottlenecks so that we achieve the same output daily. The article has brought out the facts with clear-cut examples. It all depends on us how we transform the working systems.

  9. The Japanese example highlights the actual condition in the Indian industry. To improve the career prospects and job satisfaction there is a need for a complete transformation in the outlook of the people working in the industry.

  10. The production department always blames other departments for failure to achieve the desired production. But when the support is not at fault, then also they come out with some excuses. I firmly believe that to achieve the production numbers is also a skill. The efficiency lies in the fact that even when the other factors are not favorable you are still able to achieve the production.

  11. I was trying to gain general knowledge in the industry where I was working. It was a kind of “jack of all arts.” Off late I realized my mistake and after reading this article my fear was confirmed that I have not mastered any skill. Well, better late than never. I will certainly take it up now.

  12. The skill building exercise is very useful for the IT sector jobs. I am continuously adding to my certified skills.

  13. The Japanese example is very interesting. Good and informative article.

  14. I came to know the importance of skills in the job within my first year as a management trainee. I met the people and saw that people with good basic qualifications and those who had added skills during their job tenure had risen fast in the company. I took the resolve to enhance my skill set from then on and it has been helping me in my career growth.

  15. Excellent article .japnese example is the best one and suitable for each professional in which ever domain he/she is.really a eye opener.

  16. nice article, reflects exactly to grow career.

  17. This article is very useful for newcomers who joined company I like this article and Japanese example is too good thank you sir

  18. Normally recruiters wish to get persons when they are very skilled in special areas but with confidence also

  19. Really informative

  20. After graduating from college as a B.Sc I did a specialization course in computer programming. This gave me a break in the IT field. I have been adding skills in IT by doing a course online every 2nd year. it has been paying me rich dividends. The suggestions given in this article are absolutely correct.

  21. Thanks for bringing out the facts on skill development so clearly. I had mastered some skills during the course of my career. They are with me to this date. I am utilizing these skills to make a living even after retirement.

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