By Wilmarie Brits
In the 21st century, continuous learning is an integral part of a successful career. If you work for a company that values learning and development, count yourself lucky. For many companies, the development of their employees is not a top priority, and therefore many do not offer the opportunity for formal training.
According to Prof. Tony Watts, Director of the National Institute for Career Education and Counselling, career development is the lifelong process of managing progression in learning and work. “You need to develop yourself as well as your skill set in order to achieve full potential and to add value to your company.”
Here are five ways to take control of your career development.
Decide on a skill you want to develop
The first step, once you decide to develop yourself within your career, is to decide on a skill that is valued by your company and attributes to your career path. According to Liane Davey, writer, advisor and public speaker, it is very important to do research on the skill you want to develop, in order to effectively classify the skill into different subcomponents.
Be realistic and focus on one goal at a time
Before you start, prioritize your learning goals and evaluate your time and circumstances to determine how much learning you can productively accomplish. The goal is to make learning a habit. Therefore you need to start small, develop a regular and feasible routine, and then gradually add to it. Focus on one goal at a time.
The early bird catches the worm
Try to make studying part of your morning routine. The upside to studying first thing is the morning is that you are well rested, and you can’t get talked out of it during the day or skip it because you’re tired after work. So, if procrastination is your weakness, consider studying first thing in the morning.
Keep record of your progress
By keeping a journal, you are able to capture feedback and learning. Make a list of ten skills or competencies you need to develop in your position. Rate yourself continuously and challenge yourself to do better.
Seek good mentoring
The perspective of a senior person is invaluable. According to Berkeley Human Resources, 20% of your development should come from interaction with others. This includes having a mentor, being a mentor, coaching, participating in communities of practice or serving as a leader in a staff organization.
“Education and training will strengthen your professional career in a number of ways and it will show your employer that you have the drive and commitment to learn and apply information in order to complete tasks and achieve the goals.”
Your skill set is ultimately the foundation of your career. Therefore you need take the time to develop your career skills.
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