College has provided you with all the training you need.
If you believe this, you may be on a path to obsolescence. Employees slid by with this “learn then work” mindset 20 years ago, but today’s ever-evolving, technology-enhanced landscape requires “work and learn” thinking. According to The HR Digest, organizational needs shift like Nascar drivers, requiring employees to upskill, reskill or get left behind. While companies are handing easily-automated jobs to robots, emerging roles create new opportunities for people who are agile, curious and resourceful.
The least painful way to maintain your skills is not to fall behind in the first place.
By sharing your knowledge, following thought leaders and identifying areas for additional contribution, you can establish an effortless process for lifelong learning. This practice will not only help you advance in your current role but will also set you up for successful future career transitions—because, let’s face it, wherever you are now is probably not the last place you’ll work. Here are three steps to successful career learning.
A sales professional might need expertise in company and competitor products, emerging trends and novel sales automation technologies. Managers may look at influencing skills, change management and employee empowerment.
Whatever your role, identify areas where you’d benefit from further training or knowledge. Fill in the blanks below to help identify growth areas:
“If I was an expert in __________, _________, and _________, I would be able to create more value for my company, colleagues, and customers.”
If you’re thinking about switching careers or industries, change this to:
“My new job will require me to have expertise in __________, _________, and _________.”
Brainstorm as many potential learning resources as you can think of to further your knowledge in the three areas you identified above. You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money to stay ahead; some of the most valuable learning opportunities are free (like blogs and Ted Talks). Here are some ideas to get you started:
Formal degrees / certifications
Web-based courses (Coursera, EdX, Linda, Udemy, etc.)
Blogs/vlogs by thought leaders
Google Alerts for related keywords
Relevant social media groups
Monthly coffee breaks with innovative colleagues
Masterclasses / Webinars
Industry associations or newsletters
When you finish brainstorming, pick a few resources for your three growth topics and create a learning plan. It can’t just be in your head. Write it down, block it out on your calendar and place reminders around your office to make learning a part of your daily process.
Take advantage of the small moments you have and use a combination of text, audio, and video resources to maximize your schedule. Listen to a podcast while you walk the dog. Watch a video when you eat lunch. Read an article on your phone while you…well, you know. (It’s way better than reading the back of the shampoo bottle!)
Go-getters recognize that education is a priority. Learning doesn’t end when we're hired. We’re all busy. That’s not an excuse. They acquire knowledge through learning pathways that make sense for them. They notice when they wish they knew more about something. Then, they stop wishing and take action.
Now, it’s your turn. Write down what you need to learn, find some resources and enjoy the many fruits of ongoing knowledge acquisition.
Kyla Duffy is an honest, bold, and invested career advisor and writer with a master’s degree in Human Resources and experience helping 4,000+ job-seekers achieve their goals. Having lived a life less ordinary, Kyla’s sense of humor, optimism, and worldliness permeates her interactions and publications. Her main squeeze is helping clients overcome barriers, see themselves differently, and create careers they love. Get help finding your way at https://kyladuffy.com.
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