Bob Goldman

Get ready for a big change. Until now, this column has focused on creative ways to avoid work. Today, we're going to look at creative ways to get work.

But, hey, let's not be Negative Norberts. Let's look to the future year as a lush, organic garden of employment, out of which you will surely pluck a great new job. All you have to do is totally reinvent yourself, and that will be easy-peezy, once you adopt the "Must-Have Job Skills in 2013."

Or, so says Ruth Mantell, whose recent article in the Wall Street Journal outlines the four skills that will be necessary "for employees who want to get ahead," and for those who realize that "basic competency won't be enough."

(Try not to let this realization discourage you. You deserve credit for working so diligently for so long, in the hope that you could someday achieve your dream of basic competency.)

"Clear communications" is must-have skill No. 1, or as Holly Paul, U.S. recruiting leader at a major accounting and consulting firm, puts it, "the ability to clearly articulate your point of view and the ability to create a connection through communication."

Basically, Ms. Paul wants to meet job seekers and "walk away from a five-minute conversation and feel their enthusiasm." This is a very high standard. Have you ever had a five-minute conversation with a human resources professional? If you haven't fallen asleep two minutes in, your enthusiasm level is definitely world-class.

Alas, your chit-chatting skills will not be sufficient to secure a job in 2013. You also have to write well, and that may not be so easy if you are one of the job seekers who can't "write coherently for longer than, say, 140 characters."

Clearly, in 2013, it will no longer be enough to coherently communicate in five characters, as in "BEER!" You will have to stretch your literary abilities to elaborate in poetic detail, as in "BEER! NOW!"

"Personal branding" is the No. 2 skill to possess. Considering your stylish wardrobe, you could say your personal brand is "Kmart," or, considering your mental abilities, you could brand yourself "Coke Zero." Either way, a nasty lawsuit is sure to ensue. To Meredith Haberfeld, an executive and career coach, your brand is connected directly to what you post on Facebook. Haberfeld cites the tarnished brand image an employee created when her employer read her Facebook post about "eating Chinese food and smoking 'reefer.'"

I don't know what's so bad about eating Chinese food, but you might consider polishing your brand image by "eating French food, with lots of sauces." In the meantime, please pass the reefer.


Bob Goldman

Bob Goldman is a business humor writer.

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