TECH, BUSINESS AND CAREER INSIGHTS

Five Ways to Evolve Your Skills Over Time

By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars

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No matter your industry, you can’t deny that more and more smart, diverse individuals enter the workforce every day. It doesn’t help that many of these individuals probably have training and experience that you unfortunately do not.

You may be stuck in the same position you’ve been in for years, and you aren’t sure how to diversify your skills. You may be right out of college trying to find a job, but have been unsuccessful so far. The way to remain relevant is by keeping up. If we consistently research and implement new ways to do our jobs better than we did yesterday, who says we can’t move forward?

So, how do you keep your skills relevant in an ever-changing workplace? Here are some tips to on remaining relevant and successful.

DON'T BE AFRIAD OF MENTORS AND NETWORKING
The first step in learning how to get better at what you do is by asking someone that has been in your shoes before. Mentors can help you learn information on new and old trades with a unique perspective. Think about those in your network and ask them to coffee or lunch, preparing your questions beforehand. Doing so will allow you to keep your thoughts organized and ensure you get all the answers you need.

Another way to grow as a professional is by networking. According to a LinkedIn report, 70 percent of people in 2016 were hired at a company where they had a connection, while 61 percent of professionals say regular online interaction through LinkedIn and other social accounts can lead to possible job opportunities. Attend meetings and happy hours, take classes and learn from others in your industry. It can never hurt to have that extra contact when you need it later.

DO THE RESEARCH ON YOUR FIELD
Take some time every week to research what employers are looking for in candidates in your field of work. Which tangible skills do you need to be considered for a certain job? What on that list are you struggling with or need improvement on? By looking at job descriptions in your field and top skills required by employers, both general and job-specific, you can refine those skills and feel confident in them.

You can also talk with your HR representative and see what they look for when interviewing candidates for your current position and the one you want. This will give you further insight on what skills to develop, helping your resume stand out among coworkers and other applicants.

DO SOME SOUL SEARCHING
Now that you have searched through what it takes to stand out in your industry, do some digging into your true passions and soft skills. Soft skills include time management, organization, being a team player and thinking on your feet. When applying for jobs, highlight your applicable skills from your resume, including these softs skills as well.

Employers want to know you are dependable and that they can trust you to make smart decisions for the company. Tailor your resume and cover letter to the job you're applying for, and you'll more than likely stand out and land the position.

MAKE A PLAN TO MAINTAIN AND REFRESH OFTEN
Along with meeting with your mentor, attend meetings, conferences and workshops that will further your education on your industry. There are professional associations that offer workshops at annual and regional conferences throughout the year – some of these may even be covered by your employer.

Take advantage of local classes and meetings that offer skill training, or take classes to re-learn skills that need to be refreshed. Another way to learn more about your field is by volunteering, work-related or not. Ultimately, your goal is to grow your personal skill “database” so you can justify a promotion or pay raise and showcase new skills in an interview.

READ, LISTEN AND WATCH
To stay up-to-date and avoid retroactively implementing the above tips, make it a habit to search Google daily. Subscribe to online newsletters, journals and blogs, as these are free and easy ways to stay in the loop. If you're worried about cluttering your inbox, try sending relevant blogs and articles to your personal email, or print them off and dedicate a few minutes to reading through them. The digital world is saturated with opinions and new trends that are being implemented every day. If you’re unsure where to start, check out our list of ultimate blogs and newsletters.

Ultimately, remaining relevant in your industry depends on you. If you're willing to put the work in by staying consistent and constantly refreshing your skills when needed, you'll further enhance your chances of sticking out amongst the competition.

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