The world of work has changed drastically in the last 8 years. Instead of guaranteed work with one company for long periods of time, workers are now faced with the prospect of changing jobs on a regular basis.
How do you stay prepared to change jobs? You invest in yourself by building and improving your skills. When you change jobs you take two things with you: skills and experience. So, while you’re in your current job, take advantage of any opportunities that help you build skills that you want to use going forward.
Note: you don’t have to use all of your skills in every job. Focus on improving the skills you enjoy using. The more you develop and hone your preferred skills, the more likely you are to find work using them.
1. Learn about the latest and greatest
Perhaps you’re in marketing and you don’t have a lot of experience with social media. Maybe the company you’re with now doesn’t even use social media for marketing. It’s a perfect opportunity to approach your manager and volunteer to learn about social media marketing. It’s a hot field; every company needs to know how to do it (even if it’s only having a business page on LinkedIn). When you learn how to do it, you will have acquired a new, highly desired, marketable skill while helping your company move towards its goals. Win-win.
Have you always wanted to move into a management position and it’s just not happening? Look at taking some management course to build your skill set. There are free classes, expensive classes, and less expensive classes. Figure out if you’d do best (i.e., stay motivated) taking an online class or if face-to-face will keep you on track to completing the class. Don’t make the mistake of taking an online class just because it’s less expensive. Expense is relative, particularly if you never finish the class!!
2. Pick one and try it
There are classes for every business related skill: writing, project management, graphic design, human resources, web design, accounting, and a huge list of software topics. Start by picking one class to try on for size. Pick a topic that you are interested in. Don’t start with a topic or class that you feel like you “should” take. Set up a schedule to finish the class by putting work time on your calendar on a regular basis. Finish the class and see what you think. If you find out you don’t like the topic at all, explore other classes and find another one.
3. Readers are leaders
Make sure you have a professional reading practice. What? It’s when you schedule time daily to read in your area of professional interest. Don’t worry; I’m not suggesting that you read for hours every day. Set aside 20 minutes each day to read in your area. Subscribe to a blog about your career interest, follow companies in your field on LinkedIn, and join LinkedIn groups around your career.
4. Consider hiring a coach
Many people who want to move forward in their careers hire coaches (like me!) to help them polish their skills and identify where they need to improve. The customized, one-on-one attention you receive in a coaching engagement is a powerful tool for moving forward quickly – in any phase of your career. Coaches help you plan your way forward and hold you accountable. Click here to contact me if you’re ready to find out more about coaching.
The only way to thrive in the new work reality is to keep improving your skills and learning new ones so you stay relevant. Invest in yourself daily.
Now, go do ferocious work!