Everyone focuses on what technical skills they need when discussing the information technology field. What certifications should they get or what degree program should they seek. In order to be a professional though you need more than that. You need to be able to speak to people and make yourself understood. The ability to listen and understand what others are saying is important too. Finally you need to be able to write in a manner so that people get your point as well.
Speaking means more than just talking
In a casual conversation, you usually already have someones attention. You discuss casual topics like the weather or sports, etc. When you are in an interview, you need to grab their attention. You need to speak clearly, with points that support a main idea. Meandering around a question without actually answering it is a big red flag for potential employers. The information technology field is all about customer service from the bottom to the top. If you can’t talk to a hiring manager about a technology how can you talk to a customer? You can build this skill up by practicing talking to a mirror, other people, or doing mock interviews.
Listening is more important than talking
In the workplace, it is very easy to get overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of day-to-day activities. Being a good listener means that you hear what the customer wants. When you know what people are expecting, you get the job done right the first time. I am guilty of hearing people talk but not really listening to their words. It is a skill I had to work hard on early in my career. In order to make the customer, client, or supervisor happy you have to understand what they want and need. The only way to get that is to pay attention when they tell you, and be able to understand what they mean. Listening is a skill you have to work on, and it’s something that is always useful.
Writing is a part of everything, too
Writing begins in the job hunting environment with your resume. It doesn’t end their either. Every e-mail, cover letter, resume, even quick messages to recruiters through social media job sites matter. If you haven’t gone to college and taken the required general education writing courses, it might be harder for you. I recommend that you write everything first in a product like Microsoft Word to proofread it. Double check that, like with speaking, your paragraphs make sense, and are to the point. Often on the job you have to write reports about what happened to something that you support. You have to say what broke, what you did, and if you fixed it or not. Even as a security consultant, I maintain tickets everyday. If you have something at home that breaks, practice doing a write-up of what happened and what you did, even if it was bringing it to someone. Have a family member read the report and tell you if it makes sense.