My interest in this post and the previous post on improving your skill is based on an article in the February 2013 More Magazine.
Here, authors Liza Mundy and Kate Ashford describe ideas for gaining new skills. Ashford describes ten recommendations for enhancing your job skills.
Here are eight ways to build skills and stay competitive at work:
- Think of improving t-shaped skills, which means keeping your deep (vertical) expertise in one area and supplanting it with complementary skills, such as people management. New horizontal skills are good; take classes in or join groups/workshops to learn and build a portfolio of attractive skills.
- Likewise, you might want to take a lateral-move job at work to gain new experience and will broaden your qualifications. Other pluses: new colleagues, new network of friends and breadth of exposure to company objectives.
- The MBA classes I take are filled with young, technically-talented men and women. One idea is to start a small business online. According to Ashford, the 2011 entering class to Harvard’s MBA program got money to become entrepreneurs and begin a business. She applauds this idea for young individuals who can experiment yet don’t need to make a living on what they start.
- If you’re interested, think about your passions and start a blog. Dream up a name for your business and what topics you’d blog on. Go to wordpress.com, scroll through the domain names and pick one. It will surprise you how many you will not find that you want to use. The domain name, as of Spring 2013 costs $11. Then you’ll need to pay monthly for it’s upkeep, but that is ~$5.00 per month. For further ideas about blogging, see previous posts on this site or go to Bill Belew.com.
- Another idea is to take charge of a new project. Project management jobs are plentiful for people with experience. Even better if you have a PMI certificate. You can start this process by asking to lead a project at work. Then look for local university or graduate school certificate programs and take the necessary classes.
- Next, get familiar with technology. You could: trade your cable bill for a smart phone bill each month. (Evidently approximately 67% of phone users, have smart phones–which means 43% of us/me included, don’t have smart phones). Many phone plans don’t have contract commitments so you could buy the phone and use it on a monthly basis. If you choose an iPhone, Apple gives customers a one-year period to take classes for training. Then check out my university which has classes all the time for writing apps on phones. Not sure of ITU’s class costs, but writing an app would greatly increase your exposure to high tech.
- Comb the web for educational talks, videos, webinars or what is trending. Forget the gossip pages, start watching Ted Talks. You’ll get great tips and not waste a ton of time. Most Ted Talks are ~ 20 minutes so you won’t be sitting through a day-long class. If the serious stuff gets too much, give yourself a 5-minute break on Icanhascheezburgers.com.
- Connect with a mentor and / or sponsor. Both are good. The difference? A sponsor is within your enterprise and is at a high level in the company. A sponsor will advocate and speak up for you in the circles where decisions are made; he or she may also influence management on your behalf. A mentor is a good thing also–someone who’s gone before and can guide you with valuable feedback.
Well, there is even more in the More article about building your unique and valuable skills at work. This post may be continued….
Remember: The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps (Proverbs 16:9). God is in control of your life; make your plans; pray and remember God is in control.