By: Rilind Elezaj, Life Coach, Animas
Staying relevant in today’s high-demanding job market is not as easy as it might sound. There are always new, challenging and time-consuming duties to perform at the workplace every day, which makes it challenging to find the time to learn and improve your skills. But then, you must improve your skillset if you want better remunerations, more respect from your peers, and an eventual promotion. Those are just a few of the benefits you get upon enriching your professional life with new skills and knowledge.
With that in mind, how can you improve your professional skills and still remain productive in your day-to-day office duties? In this article, we discuss ways on how to advance and develop your professional skills.
1. Get a mentor or be a mentor
A mentor can be one of the executives in your office or a renowned industry expert from a different company. This person or persons will help you overcome some of the challenges and hurdles you encounter in your pursuit of career growth. They will help you formulate realizable goals and guide you on the steps to follow in actualizing those goals. Mentors will tell you what they know will benefit you, even when you don’t want to hear it. They expose you to new environments and help you broaden your perspective.
Becoming a mentor to your juniors is another way of learning and attaining more skills. When you motivate and teach others on the skills you’ve attained over the years, what you are doing primarily is putting your skills to practice. It is through practice that you master those skills. Besides, mentoring your juniors earns you respect and admiration in their eyes, so they start taking your orders more seriously and, in the long run, make your job easier and more fulfilling. It won’t take long before your seniors and other industry leaders realize how a good leader you are, so they’ll readily promote you when a vacancy presents itself.
2. Grow your network
Strive to maintain good relations with your co-workers because no one knows your professional capabilities better than the people you interact with on a daily basis. These are people who will alert you whenever there are potential career growth opportunities. Being close to them also allows you to know the skills they have and how they attained them, so you can easily borrow a leaf from them. Outside of the workplace, it is important that you be attending conferences and meet-ups targeted to people in your industry. You will meet people who might assist you to pivot your career, some of who are potential future employers.
3. Take a time management course
Time management is one of the most rewarding skills that will take you far in your professional and personal life. Mastering the art of time management leads to better task management, increased productivity at the workplace, and overall, a better work-life balance. If you’ve been struggling with work organized, prioritizing tasks, or setting goals clearly, taking time management courses will help you turn things around.
4. Further your education
Furthering your education gives you a structured path to self-improvement. It helps you keep up with the changing demands in your industry and the job market as a whole. If you are a good employee, your employer might be open to giving you paid leave so that you can focus on furthering your education. Another option would be to enroll in part-time classes.
5. Acquire soft skills
Soft skills such as leadership, communication abilities, conflict resolution, and teamwork will enable you to relate better with your peers, junior staff, and your bosses. They help you run projects smoothly and deliver optimal results within reasonable timelines. But how do you learn these skills?
Start by identifying and acknowledging the aspects of your professional life that need improvement. It could be that you aren’t good at talking to customers, or maybe you can’t seem to inspire team members during a project, or it could be that you lack the right words to use when solving conflicts within your team. With that knowledge, find a trainer who will help you develop the needed skills swiftly.
If you want to achieve success in your career, you must make deliberate efforts to advance your skillset, both personally and professionally. The good thing is that you don’t have to go back to school for you to learn about new schools. There are learning opportunities all around you. It is up to you to grab those opportunities whenever you can.