When it comes to training, we often talk a lot about the importance of learning and acquiring new skills.
But it can be just as important for your career to continually build on and develop your existing skills.
You might be thinking it’s a waste of time learning about something that you’re already good at?
However, think of it this way: would you expect a surgeon to stop their education once they’ve graduated from university? Or once they’ve reached a certain age? Surely not.
In a less ‘life or death’ scenario, would you hire a graphic designer who only uses tools from the last decade? They might be an awesome creative, with excellent design and communication skills, but outdated tech training is bound to let them down.
The fact is, learning should be a life-long process, for all professions.
All skills can be enhanced and improved upon, to help you become even better at your job.
Brian Fetherstonhaugh, worldwide chief talent officer at The Ogilvy Group, believes happiness lies in finding your career sweet spot.
Continually enhancing your skills (even those you’re already good at) allows you to be the very best you can be, so you can make your own positive contribution to the world.
Professional Development Needs to Be Ongoing
Let’s look closer at why training and development should be ongoing for all careers.
We live in a world where new technologies are being released daily. New discoveries are being made. New knowledge is now available.
For professionals working in fast-paced industries such as technology, it’s particularly important to stay up-to-date and aware of industry changes.
Taking the time to invest in your professional development is one of the best things you can do for your career. By taking charge of your own development, you can make sure you’re filling in any skills gaps and keeping up-to-date with current knowledge in your industry.
Enrolling in regular training for your role and industry will help you further enhance the skills you’re already good at, while also having the opportunity to acquire new skills and knowledge. You’ll also feel more in control of your own happiness and direction.
On that note, there’s another reason why setting aside time for ongoing professional development is so important: learning for its own sake brings its own advantages.
Making a commitment to life-long learning is known to:
By taking part in ongoing training and committing to life-long learning, you’ll be keeping your brain sharp and healthy.
You’ll also be showing employers (current or prospective) that you’re motivated to continually learn and improve professionally, which is a very valued trait in any team member.
Many employers these days are placing great emphasis on soft skills – those skills that help us become better communicators, leaders and team players.
So it’s not just technical skills that you should be focused on developing.
In today’s workforce, hiring managers place a lot of value on employees who possess a good combination of technical ‘hard’ skills and less tangible ‘soft’ skills. In fact, it’s often the soft skills that matter when employees are being hired and fired.
Let’s say you’re faced with two employees with the exact same set of technical skills. Yet these two individuals may be very different when it comes to attitude or the ability to communicate and work as part of a team.
Which person will you hire or promote to a higher level – the candidate with the good attitude who is always willing to pitch in, or someone who has a track record of being negative and difficult?
Unlike intellect, soft skills such as emotional intelligence and communication can be developed and expanded – so why not invest some time in honing and developing your soft skills?
So you’re ready to get to work on improving your existing skill set?
Many employees rely solely on the training provided by their employer for their career development – but there’s nothing stopping you from spending your own time learning and developing new skills.
Think about the gaps in your skill set that are preventing you from achieving your goals. It’s very likely that you can find high-quality eLearning courses that provide training in those areas.
Employers – make sure you’re giving staff the opportunity and resources to continually learn.
With so many online courses and eLearning solutions available, there’s never been a better time to explore options for professional development training.