Gaining a competitive advantage throughout your career will increase your likelihood of getting promotions and the salary increases you want. Obtaining a competitive advantage takes time and commitment to develop your skills. In this article, I discuss how you can gain or maintain such an advantage.
What Is a Competitive Advantage?
It is the ability to stay ahead of your present or potential future competition. Individuals can gain a competitive advantage by evaluating strengths and weaknesses of their competitors and executing a plan that will help to improve their own performance.
How You Can Gain and Maintain a Competitive Advantage?
The biggest benefit of gaining a competitive advantage is that it will position you for rapid career advancement and increased compensation. I’ve learned that working harder isn’t the solution to gaining a competitive edge. Rather, you must work strategically to lift yourself above the competition. Below are five ways you can gain and maintain a competitive advantage.
- Build resiliency by maintaining soft skills
The foundational and transferable skills — such as writing, digital, collaboration, and problem-solving abilities — will continue to be fundamental to all jobs. These skills also are known as soft skills and are necessary for learning all other technical or job-specific proficiencies, and they increase the adaptability of workers and boost labor market resilience.
- Develop new skills
Upskilling is arguably one of the most effective tools to gain and maintain a competitive edge. It can help you to secure tenure and grow your career, and it simply means expanding your existing abilities and developing new ones. You can upskill by reading up on the latest trends and technologies, shadowing others whose duties differ from yours, and attending classes, workshops, seminars and conferences.
- Creating and maintaining relationships
Building relationships with key thought leaders in your field also can help you to gain a competitive edge. Those relationships can properly assist with curating your career goals, and so it’s important to consider a getting career coaches and mentors.
- Master interpersonal and communication skills
Your ability to collaborate, work as part of a team and get along well with others will give you a competitive edge. Consider enhancing the following skills:
- Communication, both written and verbal
- Encouraging and supporting others
- Exceeding expectations
- Exceed expectations
Get noticed by displaying your skills. Volunteer for workgroups, bring new ideas to the team meetings or initiate a new project. When you go beyond what others are doing or are willing to do, you will stand out to management and achieve a competitive edge and, most likely, see more rapid advancement in your career.
Malissa Lewis serves as the Chief of the Loan Repayment Branch in HRSA’s Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW). She leads a team of nineteen analysts who work to strengthen the healthcare workforce and build healthy communities through the administration several workforce loan repayment programs.
Prior to the Loan Repayment Branch, she served as a section chief in the Division’s Scholarship Branch. Malissa has over 11 years of public health experience and leadership experience.