I was recently speaking with a group of job seekers and the question was asked about how to keeping skills up to date.
What was first discussed was why people needed to do something proactive about using their skills. But as I recollect the conversation, this is really true for everyone, regardless of their employment situation.
A lot of great ideas came up. And although I could have listed them here, instead here are some of the ones that were discussed with further insight.
Now some people can sit and read books like no tomorrow. I do not have this skill and have tried to improve upon it over the past year and a half. However, here I am talking about reading magazines, articles, websites and blogs about your industry (or potential industry), your job type, and the economy. Notice I said “and”. By doing all three, you are keeping up to date with all the issues that are affecting you and your company. You will also get an insight into trends you may not be aware of and be able to leverage them in your workplace or job search.
OK, first I am biased. I have put out two blogs per week since last October. I know that is only about five months. But by doing so, I have opened my eyes to new ideas in the various industries I work in, continuous analysis into the economics of the market, and understanding a number of areas I would have never explored into great depth, including social media.
Volunteering is good for the soul. Find an organization that you want to commit to. It will fulfill your life. This country was based on the idea of charity to others. Those that can help should and when they can. This is not a political thing. If everyone volunteered just a little bit, not only would you feel good, but our country and those you help would be better and stronger. (Now stepping down from the soapbox.) Now, for those in the job search, try to find out how that organization that can utilize your professional skills. Even if it seems like some trivial way, it would be a great help to them and an even better way to keep your skills sharp.
You should never stop learning. Now there are a variety of classes where you can improve your skills or learn new ones. We here in the Triangle have the ability to take a variety of classes. If you are looking for work, you can check out the Human Resource Development, or HRD, classes at Wake Tech. The fee is waived for those that are unemployed or underemployed. If you are working, the price is negligible. However, there are a number of other opportunities to learn. I am currently in a 2-day “class” about improving my business.
Although this is not an exhaustive list of the things you can do to keep your skills sharp, they seem to be ones that seem to be the most effective for everyone, regardless of your employment situation.
What are some of the things you do to keep up your skill set sharp?
–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.