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Keep your skills and knowledge up to date with these five tips

Allen Associates, News & Blog

It’s always important to keep learning. Even if you’re not planning an immediate career move, thinking ahead will pay off. When you begin searching for a position, Employers will always look for evidence of continuing professional development. Firstly, this demonstrates commitment to the role, and secondly, it shows that you’re willing to take on challenges. In fact, research from PwC suggests that 77 per cent of adults would learn new skills or completely re-train to improve their job chances. Many industries are facing rapid change, which is why keeping up to date is essential to success.

Request a work mentor

Nine out of 10 workers who have a mentor are happy in their jobs. According to SurveyMonkey, workers with someone to champion their progress in the workplace are also more likely to feel valued. Asking for advice from a senior colleague will help you to get the best out of your time in your current company. Not only this, but they’ll act as an impartial sounding board – enabling you to decide whether there is still room to progress internally. To an external Employer, taking part in a mentorship scheme shows that you’re self-aware. You could also ask to mentor more junior team members. You’ll learn leadership skills, and by being open to questions, you’re likely to pick up plenty of tips for improvement.

Attend professional events

Every company works differently, which is why it’s good to compare notes with others in your profession. Staying on top of the latest trends will help you to identify the skills you need for the future. Today’s marketers, for example, will need experience with a growing number of digital tools and platforms. Try to use what you’ve learnt to develop new ideas in your current role. This will impress your boss, giving you plenty of ammunition when you decide to start interviewing. Above all, networking is an incredibly effective way to find a new role. Even if you’re not actively searching for your next opportunity, you never know who you might meet. Demonstrating a passion for your profession will pay off in the long-term, so build your personal brand by sharing your thoughts post-event via a blog or social media.

Study for a new qualification

Studying can be a great way to progress your career. Luckily, many professional bodies offer qualifications which are aimed at people in work. Whether you choose to study with the CIM, the CIPD or the ACCA, having a certificate on your CV demonstrates that you have achieved a certain level within your profession. This will stand you in good stead when you make your case for promotion or decide to switch Employers. Often, companies are willing to pay for part of the cost. To persuade your manager to invest in you, outline how you’ll use what you’ve learnt on the job. Volunteer to step up to manage a team, take on new tasks or improve current processes.

Tap into online resources

It may not be the right time to study for a professional qualification. However, there are many other resources available online. LinkedIn Learning, for example, offers video courses teaching a variety of software, creative and business skills. Similarly, Google Digital Garage offers a multitude of free courses, from promoting a business with online advertising to understanding the basics of code. While you should always pick carefully, looking at reputation and accreditation, there are a multitude of options available. Podcasts are also a great way to hear from experts within your sector. Follow industry leaders or join a professional group on LinkedIn and Facebook for recommendations.

Set yourself new targets

Many workplaces are incredibly supportive and will work with employees to create personal development plans. However, if you lack this at your current workplace, don’t let this limit you. Take some time to identify the skills you’d like to develop before making a plan to achieve these. Map out your career path, whether this is moving upwards, developing a specialism or stepping into a different profession completely. Once you have this on paper, it will be easier to set the wheels in motion. Remember to regularly review your ambitions in-line with the current job market to make yourself as marketable as possible. Take a forward-thinking approach so you avoid a situation where you don’t have the qualifications Employers are asking for.

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