10 Tips to Acquiring Skills to Grow Your Career

Self, Employment

1. Begin with the end in mind. Stephen Covey calls this the personal leadership habit. Having a single vision towards what you want to achieve personally and professionally will make you more diligent and decisive.

2. Recognize what you need to learn. Identify what skills, knowledge, and competencies you need to develop to advance your career.

3. Benchmark your competencies. Identify and connect with people who have the career you want. What skills do they have that you lack? How did they acquire those skills? What advice can they provide?

4. Start small. Consider short webinars, workshops, and/or lunch ‘n learns. Starting small is generally easier to fit into busy lives and limited budgets. This approach may take longer, but any action is better than no action.

5. Make space. Recognize that, as you add professional development activities, other things will likely need to shift. Analyze your time to identify what you can set aside. Ask friends and family for help with various household chores. Negotiate time, during your work day, that can be used for your studies.

6. Find learning that fits. Consider your learning style, stage of life, roles, and responsibilities, geographic location, budget, professional goals, and job or certification requirements. Ensure the learning method you choose will support learning success. Contact us for e-learning opportunities, in-house training, or help with creating your learning plan.

7. Find a study buddy. Whether sharing the drive to and from “school,” partnering on various projects or assignments, or simply offering support, learning with someone can be more effective. Beyond particular courses, also find a coach or mentor who will help you identify next steps on your learning journey.

8. Get creative. Take advantage of free and low cost learning opportunities. Use social media sites to join topical groups and participate in ongoing discussions. Seek out new projects to stretch your capabilities; commit to learning at least one new skill with each project you work on.

9. Be visible and vocal. Don’t hesitate to take charge of your career. Communicate your career goals with colleagues, supervisors, and managers. Connect with relevant professional associations, attend conferences and networking events, and effectively use social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

10. Have fun learning. Approach learning with a balanced amount of seriousness and fun! Take books to read in the park; form learning groups with like-minded people. Make flash cards or use mnemonics to help you memorize and retain information. Fully engage and participate to optimize your learning opportunities.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

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