As the levels of unemployment fell across 43 American states in December 2011, the national rate of 8.6% stood at its lowest since February 2009. Given this sustained improvement in the levels of economic growth and job creation, it would appear to be an ideal time for job seekers to step up their search for work and achieve their dreams of finding full-time employment. With this in mind, what skills should job seekers be learning in order to improve their credentials as candidates and ensure that they can find and retain work in 2012? (For more help, see 7 Job-Hunting Tips For 2011.)

TUTORIAL: Economic Indicators

The Language Barrier
With free trade a significant feature of the U.S. economy, exports and international business have emerged to spur significant job creation and support more than 10 million positions of employment, according to Trade and the Economy: A Small Business Report created by the House Committee on Small Business. Given that the total U.S. exports for goods and services also reached $1,800 billion and accounted for about 12% of the GDP in 2010, the importance of international interaction cannot be underestimated now that the job market is growing steadily. Social media is helping to create an increasingly global and tightly woven community of trades and businesses, resulting in multilingual skills being highly sought after by U.S. employers.

With this increasing demand for employees who can converse with international clients and consumers, there has never been a better time for job seekers to develop multilingual skills. With the adult brain also being increasingly responsive to retraining and mastering foreign sounds, there are any number of part-time or vocational courses that can teach you additional languages. Learning a second language can create many employment opportunities in a diverse range of industries.

Outsourcing In the U.S.
When it comes to acquiring skills that suit modern business practices, it is important to consider outsourcing and how it influences organizations. The process of outsourcing work to independent firms and contractors has grown increasingly popular over the last two decades, as numerous organizations have looked to save money while also engaging the services of knowledgeable industry professionals to complete tasks. It is especially popular within the information technology sector. Halogen Corporation found that approximately 28% of all outsourced jobs belong to this market, while the professional and business services sector also boasts a high demand for independent contractors.
(For related reading, see How Productivity And Globalization Affect The Economy.)

With these facts in mind, it is clear that learning information technology, software development and remote administration skills could be a valuable step forward for job seekers in 2012. In addition to creating new opportunities for long-term employment in prosperous industries, these skills also allow those seeking work to earn money and remain financially independent while juggling responsibilities. This would not only be a huge boost to the well-being of the economy in 2012, but also create an improved workforce that can adapt to the changeable and often vulnerable employment market.

Financial Management Skills
The key to remaining in viable work is to retain skills that are relevant to prosperous industries, especially when it comes to retraining or undertaking long-term vocational courses. The financial planning and management sector came into its own during 2011. According to Business Insider, the average U.S. household struggled with debts of approximately $6,500 at the end of 2011 and turned to industry professionals to help remain solvent. As we enter 2012, these services will be in even higher demand as consumers look to improve their spending habits and make long-term savings.

The improved economic portents of 2011 led to an increase in the total level of disposable income boasted by U.S. citizens, and this trend is forecasted to continue into 2012. This will mean that with more capital to spend, consumers and small businesses will require additional guidance with regards to their budgeting, spending habits and long-term financial planning. Acquiring qualifications as financial advisors and accountants should hold job seekers in good stead, and afford them the opportunity to grow into a plethora of secure and rewarding careers.

The Bottom Line
While there are many lessons and qualifications that can be gained to secure short-term success in the job market, it is important that your resume boasts skills that are transferable and provide additional flexibility in the industries that you work in. This will not only guarantee you a long and secure career, but also help to establish a talented and multi-faceted workforce that can steer any national economy towards prosperity. (For some help on your resume, see Top 12 Things Not To Put On Your Resume.)