Driving Career Advancement with Continual Skill Enhancement

by Thomas Byrne Associates | March 26, 2015

Thomas Byrne - horizons - shutterstock_68541631 (3)Nothing says, “I’m serious about my career,” more effectively than the pursuit of training and the continual building of your knowledge base and skills. Reference for Business, the Encyclopedia for Business states,

“Employees today must have access to continual training of all types just to keep up…. If you don’t actively stride against the momentum of skills deficiency, you lose ground.” 1

Berkley HR shares the 70-20-10 rule for career development: 70% on the job, 20% interaction with others and 10% training.2

On-the-job activities and action learning. Take advantage of opportunities to:

  • Lead a project
  • Serve on a cross-functional team
  • Tackle the challenge of a new task
  • Participate in research and problem-solving
  • Build your process-improvement expertise

Interactions with others. Make every day a learning day through your professional and personal interactions. This can include:

  • Having a mentor
  • Being a mentor/life coach
  • Participating in both business and community organizations
  • Filling leadership roles in your company and community

Training. Thanks to advancement in technology, this has never been easier not only to build on your present education, experience, and skills, but also to increase the diversity of your knowledge and abilities. Multiple options include:

  • MOOC (massive open online courses): utilizes traditional course materials -filmed lectures, readings, problem sets – and often incorporates interactive user forums to support connections between students, professors, and teaching assistants. According to Alexandra Janvey and Jamie McCurry,

“These courses cover a wide range of topics ranging from art to gamification. It all depends on the schools that make these online courses available. While actual academic credit is not given for taking a MOOC, a certificate of completion is sometimes given if you do all the work required of you. The important thing is what you are able to learn and take away from the experience. MOOCs provide the opportunity to receive a more well-rounded education that otherwise might not be possible. All you need to enroll is a willingness to learn and the motivation to complete the course.” 3

  • Webinars: What could be more convenient than the opportunity to learn and interact from the comfort of your own office? Not only will there be no travel expenses incurred, most webinars are recorded for easy accessibility at a later time for review or to accommodate those unable to attend initially. Ready Talk notes,

“A webinar is a way for people to experience something new in a group setting, before they do it themselves. The intimidation of trying something new is greatly reduced when they are given the opportunity to walk through a trial run with an expert, without fear of making a costly mistake.” 4

  • Conferences: The benefits of this type of continued training is the “getting away” aspect that allows participants to immerse themselves in the conference topics, generally presented by industry leaders and experts. In addition, networking connections can deepen as participants have more time to delve into the details of their specific fields.

Whether physically attending a learning event or participating online, add documentation of your participation as well as examples of skill application on the job to your resume.

Fostering an appreciation for lifelong learning is key to career success. The pursuit of continued education and skill development will add value to your contribution within the company and will aid in your career development.

Contact Thomas Byrne Associates today. We will assist you in the pursuit of all your career goals, including helping you utilize your pursuit of knowledge and skills to advance your career.