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How to improve your skills at the start of your career & how we do things in Michelin

As you set out on your career journey, you probably ask yourself how you can become more competitive and valuable, how you can set yourself apart. 

First, let`s understand what skills mean and why they are so important:

Skills or competencies are the proven abilities that you develop through learning and experience. It is important to have a range of skills, as each of them will help you in different activities. As your career advances, you can measure your progress by looking at the skills you acquire and their complexity.

How to acquire new skills? Let’s take a 5-step journey:

Step 1. Prepare for the journey: know yourself!

Assess your capabilities, ask yourself how you can become better. What are your Strengths, Weaknesses? What are the Opportunities and the Threats on the market? That’s right, do a SWOT analysis for yourself!

You can: use online tools*, ask for feedback from your colleagues, teachers or career advisor. (*examples here and here)

Michelin does: assessments during recruiting (language, cognitive competencies, Excel etc.). Once hired, you have a development plan, with access to resources and training, and the opportunity to put into practice what you learned.

Step 2: Become a knowledge master!

Define your goal! Choose a professional field and discover how you can build a career.

You can: set clear professional goals, with specific deadlines. In a world full of choices and options, we sometimes fail to turn plans into reality. A clear deadline will drive you to take action.
E.g.: By the end of the year I want to learn how to create social media campaigns for CSR projects.

Michelin does: We organize frequent feedback sessions with your managers and you can also assess your own competencies periodically. Based on the results, the training that you need and the projects that will help you grow are chosen. We encourage our employees to be the ones who manifest interest to learn and advance their careers.

Step 3: Become digitally savvy!

Train your mind to learn and to adapt quickly to new tools and systems, as companies are becoming more and more digital.

You can: do a research about what tools and programs are used in your field of interest and try to learn how they work.

Michelin does: We use all sorts of solutions to simplify our way of working. We love automation and we ask our colleagues to put forward progress ideas. This makes our work more engaging; it takes the strain of repetitive tasks away from the people and lets them focus on the activities that bring added value.

Step 4: Become a social engager

People skills and personal skills such as adaptability, teamwork and collaboration are very important, because we work with people all around the world.

You can: as a student, take part in local or international projects organized by universities or NGOs; internships and volunteering are also good options. All these experiences will help develop your social intelligence.

Michelin does: We have a very diverse, multicultural and inclusive environment. There are 18 different nationalities in our office in Bucharest and we work in 24 foreign languages, across regions. You will interact with different cultures and the experience will enrich you as a person.

Step 5: Build yourself a support network

It will help you track your progress and give you feedback. They can also give you referrals and support through tougher times, when your motivation can dwindle.

You can: choose a mentor or a coach, share your goals with a learning buddy, become a member of formal or informal networks, groups or associations of like-minded people.

Michelin does: we create and foster an environment where you get the support you need, when you need it. From step one inside the company, you get an onboarding buddy and a technical trainer for the job. With various projects, you will be a part of cross-functional teams, thus meeting more colleagues. Work aside, you can take part in our engagement events or volunteer for CSR activities that will bring you closer to people who share your passions.

And last but not least, put everything into practice!

Theory is nice and so is advice. But for it to work, you need to step out of your comfort zone and take action. Prepare yourself, make a plan, seize the opportunities that come your way and don’t forget to enjoy the ride!