The corporate world moves fast. Technology is always changing, and that means that in many fields, you’ll find your job constantly adjusting. Some reports on the field of engineering estimate that just two years without keeping up-to-date on the latest developments can render you obsolete for any upcoming projects. Even doctors and lawyers, who many would think have evergreen skills, need to keep up on continuing education in their field to stay relevant.
The prospect of keeping ahead of the game in the professional world can be overwhelming to many of us. However, incorporating a few techniques into your daily professional life can make it second nature.
Give Yourself Room to Explore Things that Interest You
Have you ever been curious about the set design that goes into movies? Do you wonder about the advances that have happened in solar power? Well, give yourself room to explore those areas. If it’s something that interests you, you’ll apply yourself better and learn quicker. Seize opportunities to go to events where you can learn more. Sign up for tutorials and courses where you can develop new skills. Volunteer with your free time so that you have some experience in the area. Spend time reading about industry news.
It may not seem immediately applicable to your job right now, but who knows how things will change in the future? You may be able to bring a skill that you learn outside of work to bear in the conference room, and it will give you a competitive advantage. Furthermore, learning new things in one area of life makes us more able to adapt to new things in other areas. The brain is a muscle and it needs to be exercised.
Refine Your Timeless Skills and Attributes
There are some skills that will never become obsolete, no matter how the world changes around us. For example, speaking skills are still needed, perhaps more than ever in a world where video content rules the internet and quickly executed talking head videos could be the key to your small business’ marketing success.
Many researchers have found that, as important as specific niche skills are, these specialties and even traditionally-taught skills in schools aren’t as important as other attributes. Tenacity, determination, and curiosity may be better markers of success. Emotional intelligence, for example, is one skill set that is highly desirable in the workforce, and never goes out of style.
Learn from Everyone Around You
When you’ve developed a skill in your niche, it can be easy to fall into a pattern and believe that they way you do things is always the best way. In order to stay ahead of the game, you need to cultivate an open mind and consider the things that you can learn from everyone around you. Your clients, major competitors, and coworkers or employees all have things that they know that you don’t. Ask questions whenever possible and exercise your brain by considering what the benefits are in doing something someone else’s way.
Try to finish your own tasks quickly so that you can offer to help others at the office and learn more about what they do too. The collaboration will probably be profitable to you both!
Take Advantage of Additional Training at Work
Does your job ever offer an opportunity to go to a trade show? To participate in a speaking engagement? To give you time for additional training courses that you can do online? Seize those opportunities! Even for something as simple as learning a new software program that you use in the office can prove useful in the future. First of all, it makes you more indispensable in your existing position. Secondly, those new skills are current, and probably valuable to other possible job opportunities.
Subscribe to magazines and newsletters that talk about news in your industry (or in any area you’re curious about). This might be an actual magazine, or it could be notable bloggers in the field, newspaper publications, and email campaigns. Take time aside every week to see what’s going on in the world around you so that you can track trends and learn about developments that could help your business.
Are you a copywriter at a newspaper? If the newspaper goes under, and it’s impossible to find another job in a newspaper (because they’re all struggling) then you need to re-brand your skills and break them down into smaller pieces so that you can be more flexible.
For example, you know one style of editing really well. This means that you know how to work within a certain system, and so will learn a new one well. You have attention to detail, and you’ve demonstrated reliability and the ability to work with a team. Break your skills down into their essential components so that you’re able to adjust to new kinds of work as they arise.