Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Preparing For Your Next Job Is Easier Than You Think

Have you ever been in a job where you wanted to move on but couldn't seem to make any progress?  If you find yourself in this situation, there's always someone who will say, "you need to get the lesson where you are before you can move on"... with no additional insight. I can't tell you that I know what "the lesson" is specifically, but what I can say for sure is, today is about living your best life now, and anything less is a waste of time

If you are going to live your best life now, then you have to learn quickly how to leverage the things you are in control of.  Instead of feeling stuck, why not take ownership of the situation and create the lesson yourself? It's all about your perspective and your approach. Let me explain.

Moving into the job you desire can take months, sometime years, depending on what you want to do. However, don't ponder on the time it will take, but instead think about the journey you're on and the value you can create for yourself while you are moving towards your destination. If you consider your current job as "just a job", or a way to make ends meet, this is the wrong perspective. You are missing out on simple tasks that have high impact and can propel you towards your goal sooner (I'll tell you how, keep reading).

Being focused and consistent, regardless of how small the task is, will allow you to take advantage of opportunities when they appear. For every job obtained, you will utilize the knowledge and skills you develop throughout your career, and probably in ways you won't expect. Your experiences, whether good or bad, becomes information which supports learning & development, decision-making, character-building, and ultimately the wisdom you will draw on for the rest of your life. 

Find areas for development in your current role that will aid your career, then take the opportunity to hone these skills.  

For example, if you are in a customer service role, understand what foundational skills embody exceptional customer service, develop it, and then build on it. Whether your clients are external or internal, any company will capitalize on your ability to effectively engage with people. Even more, great customer service is a skill you can leverage for your entire career!

Here Are 10 Easy Tasks You Can Do Now To Prepare For Your Next Job:

1) Subscribe to podcasts for the industry or career focus.

2) Research the role you are interested in by investigating various aspects like salary, trends, and career trajectory.

3) Follow companies where you want to work and learn about their culture.

4) Find a job description with responsibilities that resonate with what you want in your next role.

5) Make a list of the required and desired skills to find your skill gaps.

6) Determine how you can add missing skills to your resume (online learning, certification course, volunteer work, freelance project, etc).

7) Join a meet up group or community of professionals for your targeted role.

8) Conduct informational interviews.

9) Attend conferences to network with professionals in the industry.


10) Always showcase your strengths to gain new opportunities.

"Success" does not have to be a status that occurs in the distant future. You create your destiny one day at a time, but you have to be positive, resourceful, determined, and consistent if you want to have a feeling of success today. Develop a strategy to "create the lesson" in any job you hold, and you will develop skills and relationships wherever you go, ultimately benefiting your career. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Why "Learning" Is the Next Skill You Should Master

Remember the days of grade school when we had folders and subject notebooks for each course? If you are a parent, you're intimately aware of this because of money spent every school season on different colored folders. Teachers have a system that is designed to help students focus and retain knowledge for the specific subject area through organization and memorization. As adults, some of us have figured out our own process for retaining the information we need, and thanks to technology, there are countless apps providing the details at our fingertips.

How effectively you learn a new skill is specific to your learning style, which is the ability to retain information in a way that is practical and adaptable. "Learning" is a skill that is not passive, and requires the same retention process you endured as a child, but now at a faster pace. With the advancement of technologies such as Cloud, AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality), AI (artificial intelligence), and Infosec (information security), the way we work is changing rapidly. We have to be proactive about what we are learning and how quickly we apply our newly learned skills.

There are many variables that contribute to learning, and the optimum learning scenario will differ based on the individual preference, the topic of study, delivery method, and consequences.  Yes, "consequence" can be a motivator or stressor because some skills require exams to validate the required knowledge has been retained. The higher the stakes are for gaining a new skill, the more challenging it can be for the learner to process and apply it successfully.

If you have not assessed how you learn best, here are questions to get started:

  • What was the last skill you learned that you were able to apply regularly?
  • Was it a formal course or an informal arrangement?
  • How was the information delivered (online, in person, on demand, self-paced, video, podcast, book, e-course, etc.)?
  • How long did it take you to learn it?
  • What were the steps you took to retain the info?
  • How did you apply what you learned?
  • Was the process easy or difficult?
    • If difficult, how did you overcome the challenge(s)?
  • If you could change how you engage with new information to better suit your needs, what would this look like? 

Once you answer the questions above, you should have some sense of what you liked and disliked about the learning process you participated in. Use these details as your learning preference to ensure the type of training you select provides a foundation for success. Your level of interest in a specific topic area is also a big factor in your learning process. The less interested you are, the less likely you will retain the information. In the end, the pay off comes when the topic is interesting, the environment is engaging, AND you are committed to practicing your new skill. Even further, continuing to research, refine, and solidify your knowledge will take you from novice to expert.

If you uncover your specific formula to master learning, you can create a plan to gain (and apply) new skills regularly. 

Here are my top 5 reasons why "learning" is the next skill you should master:

5. Technology will continue to advance and change the way we work.

4. Jobs will require emerging skills for companies to stay relevant.

3. Higher salaries commensurate with higher level skills that are not easily obtained.

2. Employees enjoy their work more when they have the right skills for the job.

1. You take your skills wherever you go.

Not sure what to learn? We've got you covered, here are the top tech skills in 2018.

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