Some less spoken about (but just as valuable) skills for career success

A combination of skills-based training and on-the-job learning has always helped me stay relevant and equipped for future opportunities. I’ve definitely worked in roles that turned out not to be the right fit for me, but I still learned a a lot.
Liz Chan · 11 October 2022 · 3 minute read

Many people see career progress as moving up the ladder and salary bracket, but what’s becoming just as valued is a ‘T-shaped’ career – taking side steps, being cross-disciplined and adding breadth of experience.

In fact, there are many skills that aren’t necessarily shouted about, but are just as important for building an enriched and successful career. The following skills really sprang to mind when I reflected on this.


Being able to tell a compelling story is great for self-reflection, raising awareness, building your personal brand and inspiring others. I've interviewed some really impressive senior candidates at Telstra and have noticed they commonly talk about bringing people on the journey when driving organisational change.

They're able to give context and communicate the ‘why’. Those who openly share their challenges and tribulations, not just their accomplishments, come across as authentic and relatable.  


People change their minds, tech goes down, companies restructure and sometimes a global pandemic hits and completely changes everything. It's being able to overcome these kinds of setbacks that helps us to grow. 

I returned from maternity leave at the start of COVID. My team had changed and I was reporting to a different leader. It was also the first time we were fully working remotely, which was definitely an adjustment.

Soon after, a short-term secondment for a leadership position opened up. Though it was a natural step-up, I was hesitant to apply for various reasons. However, luckily I ended up going for it and getting it. I learned my strengths and weaknesses as a leader, and fast forward to today, it helped me land the role I have now (which I love).

Social skills

This doesn’t have to mean attending work drinks and group lunches – it’s more about having social awareness, understanding cues, knowing when to be kind or firm and when to listen or ask questions. It helps with building relationships and trust. 

You don't have to be in a people-focused role to develop these. 

At Telstra there are many opportunities to hone these skills, such as volunteering, workshops, training, ride-alongs and our Employee Resource Groups.

Surrounding yourself with the right people

No matter how talented you are as an individual, business is a team sport. The people you surround yourself with impact your career. So pick your allies, advocates, sponsors and mentors wisely. I'm grateful that Telstra has so many talented people, resources and internal and external development programs at our disposal.

Learning and development

I recently completed the High Performance Mindfulness program. It was very interactive and impactful. I've been able to apply some of the techniques I learned in both my work and personal life.

I've also completed a Coaching Conversations program, applying the GROW model, which has helped me approach conversations in a more collaborative and attentive way. 

There are over 16,000 learning programs on offer to Telstra employees. This includes opportunities to build different career experiences and capabilities through specific technical programs and academies. , There  are als dedicated programs, critical experiences and executive coaching for emerging and current leaders. The learning culture at Telstra is huge – and I take full advantage of it!

Want to see where a future at Telstra will take you? View our current job openings.

By Liz Chan

Recruitment Team Leader

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