4 ways to develop new professional skills when you have a repetitive job


What can you do if you don’t have the skills you need because of your current job responsibilities? – Denis

Kudos to Dennis for recognizing that what you do in your day-to-day job is not necessarily what will get you to the next job. Ideally, you are proactively managing your career and keeping your skills up to date and aligned with your target job. Determining what skills are needed for your target job is a key first step. You need to know what skills to develop before determining how. (If you haven’t found your dream job yet, here is 10 exercises to get you started.)

Once you have an idea of ​​which skills are right for the job you are looking for, you can plan how to develop them. Learning on the job is just one way to develop new skills. You also don’t have to spend a lot of your own money. You have to invest time, be willing to push yourself and experiment to find development opportunities.

1 – Tap on the company’s resources

If you work for a large company, check to see if they offer in-house training. One of my major media clients offered industry specific workshops, as well as general training on people management, communication skills, public speaking and more. A small tech client did not have on-site training, but gave each employee a personal budget for courses and learning and development supplies. Some companies provide viewing opportunities so that you can sit down with a different department for a day. Some companies organize mentorships that bring together employees from different fields.

2 – Help your manager to help you

Your manager may be able to point you to offers from the company that you don’t know about, or they may offer to design a learning plan for you. If the skills you want to develop are being used somewhere in your group but not in your job, your manager may be able to alternate your responsibilities with the other person doing what you would like to do. Or, there could be cross-functional projects that you can be assigned to that expand you in a new way, help you meet people you don’t normally work with, and give you a window to other parts of the world. ‘business.

Just keep in mind that some managers are better than others when it comes to coaching and developing their people. If you think that your manager will not support you – for example if he interprets your request as a loss of concentration or that you are less engaged in your current job – then skip this step! (If your manager really isn’t supporting you to the point of undermining you, follow these three steps.)

3 – Volunteering, including in your company

Volunteering is a hands-on way to learn new skills and give yourself real-life examples to share in job interviews and networking meetings. If you already know the basics of a skill, like accounting, but don’t have an accounting degree or don’t officially use accounting in your role, volunteering could be proof that you have this skill. skill. You could help with the bookkeeping of a nonprofit you care about. Volunteer as treasurer at your child’s school, place of worship, or neighborhood association. Board work is a great resume booster, and you can volunteer for the finance committee in particular. You could even volunteer at your business – for example, to manage budgeting tasks for the annual offsite, to be the treasurer of an affinity group.

4 – Reconnect with your public library

If you need to learn a skill and can’t use it right away, don’t assume that a paid course is the only way to go. Your public library, especially if it’s a main branch or specializes in business or research, has books, periodicals, and resources online at no cost. Some libraries offer professional development workshops on topics such as starting a business. Reading biographies is a great way to explore potential career paths. Once you see how success is non-linear and the result of varied experience, you will also be reassured that you will find your own path.


Your next employer is looking for experience, but not necessarily paid on-the-job experience

Of course, it would be great if your current job keeps pace with your career goals and gives you all the skills you need to move forward. But it probably won’t, which is one of the reasons you’re looking to move on. There is still ways to advance your career outside of your current job, including learning new skills.

Your next employer will want confirmation that you do have the required skills, but job performance is only one form of proof. Self-study is important if you can talk about the topic in enough depth to demonstrate what you know. Volunteer work is important if it is practical and leads to tangible results. The extra work you do in your business, even if it is not your main job, is further proof of your skills and also shows how ready you are to go above and beyond.

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