Seven Options for Building Skills for Your Job
Having the right skills is key to discovering your desire job. Discover the skills companies want and how your own abilities evaluate. Getting stock of your skills will allow you to explain them well to employers. You’ll also recognize the skills you need to create to get on the path to building a thriving profession.
“Here's the TenStep guest blog post "Seven Options for Building Skills for Your Job":
Many companies do not see the need to spend money on project training that the employee will not be utilizing on his current job. If you have been using the same skill set for many years and feel you are being left behind, you need to take personal responsibility for keeping your knowledge up-to-date through training. Unfortunately, the high price of training classes can be a deterrent for people seeking to sharpen their skills.
The good news here is that there are many alternatives to traditional standup training classes. You should be creative in where you look for learning opportunities (or "learning events"). Some examples of non-classroom based training are as follows.
- The Internet. You should start any search on the internet. You might be surprised how many free resources are there. You will find free tutorials, discussion groups, training material, articles, expert columns, etc. If you want to be a better project manager, you will find hundreds of resources, templates and columns.
- Webinars. Many companies sponsor free seminars on the web – webinars. These are usually an hour or two in length, and include a live presentation and some opportunity for questions. In many cases they are sponsored by vendors, but the content is still very valuable in exchange for the short sales pitch you will receive.
- e-Classes. This is a pre-recorded or pre-built class you take at your own pace. You will actually have to pay a fee for this more substantial learning event. However the price may be only a couple hundred dollars or less. These classes can vary in terms of value and quality, but your out-of-pocket investment is a lot lower as well.
- Books / e-books. This is learning the old fashioned way. Any subject worth learning is usually one that has a number of books available. The advantage of a book is that you get a vast amount of information for a relatively small price. Of course, you still have to invest the time to read the book once you buy it.
- Magazines. There are many project management and technical magazines available. In most cases they are available for free. These will provide articles and columns of interest.
- Mentors. You may be able to locate a coach or mentor. These are people that will make some time available to discuss topics of interest. For instance, if you want to learn more about project management, you can discuss the profession and ask questions of an experienced project manager.
- Hands-on opportunities. The best way to learn new skills is to be able to apply them in the course of your job. You may be able to apply some creativity. If you are a team member, for instance, perhaps you can leverage your project management training into an opportunity to manage small projects. You may also be able to apply the new skills in your personal life through volunteer projects with your church or schools. The key is to be creative in looking for ways to convert “book skills” into on-the-job experience.
People need to take personal responsibility for their careers, including ensuring that they stay reasonably well versed in new skills. Training is a mind-set. You need to build learning events into your job on an ongoing basis. Be inquisitive, keep up on where the marketplace is going, read books and magazines, and find websites that have information in the areas of interest to you. There are no guarantees, but lifetime learners (employees and consultants) will always have an advantage in the job marketplace of the future.