A few days ago I wrote a blog entry called 3 Attributes to get a Job … Experience, Skills and Attitude. I gave some high level thoughts on how you might improve you experience and skills … and suggested that a great attitude can REALLY differentiate.
Today I thought I would spend a little time talking about skills, and why you should always be investing in improving them. If you are not improving your skills, in a world that is changing at an ever increasing pace then effectively you are going backwards. So, what are you doing about it?
Some people will point to their job and suggest that their years of doing that job makes them very experienced … I might suggest that a computer developer (or receptionist or payroll clerk etc) with 10 years experience brings very little extra value than one with 2 years experience. Their on the job skills improve dramatically in their early time on the job, but the rate of improvement drops off dramatically after a while.
So … ask yourself some questions.
> What are you doing to improve your skills?
> What would you do if you were laid off tomorrow?
> Are you comfortable that you would be able to find a replacement job, and would it pay as much?
> What could you do to get a better job?
> What could you do to be better at this job?
> Are you willing to invest time/money to improve your situation?
When you really think about these things it takes you a little out of your comfort zone …however there are a lot of people who lost their jobs over the recession, and many of those jobs did not come back. There is no way anybody can be complacent in their situation, so get out of your comfort zone and invest in yourself.
> Take some courses.
> Take on special projects.
> Read … about your industry, about the economy, about what is happening in the world, about other industries that might interest you, about different jobs and roles that might interest you.
> Get involved outside of work in non-profit organizations, sports clubs, charities etc.
> Take an interest in other areas of your company.
Broadening your horizons, demonstrating interest and showing initiative will (1) increase your worth in your current job, (2) it will make your work day that much more interesting, (3) it will reduce the chance that “you” will be the one to go… and (4) it positions you well for your next job.
Invest in yourself it just makes sense.
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.” ~Henry Ford