9 Ways to Boost Your Market Value

Keep Moving Forward.

How do you increase your value in the marketplace? The same way you increase the value of your financial assets: by investment. I am convinced that one of the most important and profitable investments you can make is in your intellectual capital.

How do people rise from poverty to become successful celebrities, athletes, and CEOs?  How do these self-made millionaires do it? These nine principles will not only increase your value in the marketplace; they will enrich your life.


  1. Conquer the Computer. The first way to increase your market value is to master the computer. Analysts predict that within a decade, almost half of all jobs will relate directly to computers. Even if your dreams and goals are entirely outside of high-tech environs, computer skills can be an essential tool to help you achieve them. Computer knowledge will give you a competitive edge. Learn necessary word processing, spreadsheet, and Internet research skills to increase your effectiveness and efficiency dramatically.


  1. Polish Your Public Speaking Skills. The need for public speaking skills isn’t limited to the times when you are asked to give a formal speech to a broad audience. Public speaking is an essential part of sales pitches, training programs, the presentation of research findings, even running company meetings. Public speaking skills are needed in virtually every aspect of every job. As former White House speechwriter James Humes once wrote, “The ability to communicate is the skill most needed by executives.  The lack of it slows and stifles advancement more than any other fault.”


  1. Write Like a Winner. The ability to write well is extremely valuable — and extremely rare. As one CEO stated, “Ninety percent of the reports generated in business are so unreadable that they have to be studied to be understood…. I’ve seen scores of people get locked out of advancement because they cannot write the English language. If you can master it, you’ll have a tremendous advantage.” 


Writing well is never easy — which may be why so few master it. As the great writer Samuel Johnson said, “what is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.” Make a habit of editing and re-editing your written work with an eye toward making it brief, specific, well organized, factually accurate, correctly formatted, and grammatically correct.


  1. Read Extensively. Reading makes your mind stronger, faster, and keener. It quickens your responses to new information and deepens your understanding of both current events and human nature.  I read a wide variety of nonfiction works to keep abreast of new developments and trends — the information I share with you has to be cutting-edge. It is equally important to read classical literature.


Last year, 24 percent of Americans did not read at least one book — but spent, on average, five hours and four minutes a day watching television.  And another1 hour and 40 minutes browsing social media. Can you imagine how much more informed and imaginative Americans could be if they spent half that time reading?


  1. Expand Your Vocabulary. A robust vocabulary is essential to your success. Research shows that people with the best vocabulary get both the best jobs and the best salaries. In one study, Dr. Johnson O’Connor of the Stevens Institute of Technology gave a vocabulary test to 100 young men who were preparing to work as industry executives.  Five years later, every one of the men who had scored in the top 10 percent of vocabulary knowledge had risen to an executive position. Not one of those who had scored in the lower 25 percent of vocabulary knowledge had done so.  In short, the greater your vocabulary, the higher your chances for success.


  1. Nurture Your Network. Did you know that any American is only two contacts away from any other American? In other words, if you randomly selected the name of someone online, you would know somebody who knows somebody who knows that person! Given that fact, imagine how powerful networking can be.


The basics of networking include being friendly to those you meet, researching the background of the people you wish to know, nurturing your relationships with regular contact, and asking for referrals.  Persistent, consistent networking will fuel your professional success and dramatically increase your opportunities.


  1. Mind Your Manners. Knowing the correct silverware to use, demonstrating proper telephone manners, sending prompt and properly worded letters and thank-you notes gives you a competitive edge. Good manners are so important in the corporate world that many businesses have begun offering remedial classes to their employees!  In fact, USA Today recently reported that industry studies reveal that only 12 percent of MBAs have “acceptable manners.”  By learning and observing the basics of etiquette, you have a competitive advantage over 88 percent of new MBAs.


  1. Learn a New Language. As the marketplace becomes more globalized, learning a new language is a sure-fire way to boost your professional value.   Fluency in a foreign language enables you to better understand and communicate with foreign executives and gives you an advantage in international negotiations. Even in the United States, the demand for employees who speak different languages continues to increase, as America’s population grows more ethnically diverse.


  1. Continue Your Education. Formal education expands your knowledge base, keeps your mind alert and engaged, requires you to read and analyze, and provides a terrific forum for networking with like-minded professionals.


Acquiring additional degrees also increases your value in the marketplace.  One University of Chicago study found that the financial returns of education may be at an all-time high and are continuing to grow. Over the space of over 15 years, the premium for a college education has doubled in value and is currently at its highest level in more than 50 years.  Education has a multiplier effect. Your investment in your education multiplies your value in the marketplace


What I can tell you as a former 9 to 5er; “When I worked at my job, I made a living. When I worked on myself, the floodgates opened.” Invest in yourself and watch your market value increase.