Five Ways To Develop Your Skills On The Job
The best way to develop your skills on the job is to consistently feed your career with knowledge and skills that show that you’re worth the promotion or raise. Here are a couple of hacks, that if you take advantage of, could help you improve yourself at work.
1. Get Someone to Mentor You and Be a Mentor Yourself
Identifying someone to mentor you at work is key to attaining knowledge and new skills. A good mentor can help you solve some of the roadblocks and challenges you face at work and in life. He or she can help you figure out what you need to do next and can help guide you through some of the challenges that hinder you from progressing in life and at work. A great mentor is someone who tells you what you need to hear and is not afraid to tell you what you don’t want to hear. Great mentors give you the feedback that you need to overcome your weaknesses and blind spots, putting you in a position where you can advance yourself.
Mentors are essential to advancing careers. They provide you with new points of view and expose you to new experiences. Apart from finding someone to mentor you, you should also consider finding someone that you can mentor. In most cases, advancing to the next level of your career will mean managing others. An excellent way to improve your leadership and management skills is to become another person’s mentor – paying forward what you have learned to others so they can advance their careers too! When mentoring others, you get to learn a lot about teaching people new skills and how to motivate others.
2. Take on New Challenges Head-First
When new opportunities to earn knowledge and learn new skills present themselves, take them on. Make sure that you are ready to apply should such opportunities arise and ensure that your resume has a captivating summary. If there’s something in the organization you want to learn and see a chance to learn it like through a new assignment or particular project, grab the opportunity. If learning these new skills requires that you go the extra mile, then roll up your sleeves and get the job done. Remember, reaching for new opportunities is not being aggressive. It’s valuable, helpful, and useful. If you look closely, you will discover that people who’ve progressed in their careers found ways to grab new opportunities and learn new things. When a new assignment or project opens op and is in line with the skills you are looking to learn, offer yourself up, and take on the challenge. Let your HR team or manager know that you are interested in learning new skills and want to gain insight and experience. State, clearly, what you bring to the table and fully immerse yourself into the task at hand.
3. Read a Lot and Look for Problems That Need Solutions
Sometimes, there’s not much to grab. I understand that. But that doesn’t mean you sit idly and wait for opportunities to come knocking. I suggest that you start looking for information, be it books or articles or case studies, related to your industry/field and read. Research all there is to know about your organization and its competitors. Know your company’s goals and selling points like the back of your hand. Learn and become an expert in things related to your company. Try and think of solutions that address the company’s main challenges. As a manager, when one of my team members comes to me with a solution to a problem my company is facing, they stand out. So, when there aren’t that many challenges to solve in your organization, work out the challenges that need to be addressed, identify the solutions to these challenges and then develop and sell your project to the company. Doing so will allow you to earn knowledge and learn skills. At the same time, you will stand out from the rest because you have taken the time to identify and solve problems your company is facing.
4. Make Friends with People from Other Departments
There are so many new skills to be learned outside of your area of influence and responsibility or department. To learn these new skills, consider networking internally. Try and make friends with people from other offices, divisions, or teams. Be interested in their departments and what they do. Learn all you can learn about their skills and jobs, how they got their skills, and how you can chip in over there when you are free. This will help you learn new skills that you can use to advance your career.
5. Look for Opportunities to Learn New Things Internally
This last point is one I tend to forget. Most companies have in place internal learning systems that are in place to better their employees’ skills and abilities. As such, consider consulting with your benefits team. Try and find out if there are any training opportunities available that you can jump on. Also, find out if there are any tuition reimbursement benefits that you have. Consult your human resource team and let them know that you are interested to learn, what you want to learn, and how what you learn can help the organization. Acquiring new skills does not mean having to go back to school and attending evening classes. Sometimes, those skills you want to learn are available right where you are! It is a matter of knowing what you’d like to learn and finding a way or ways to learn/earn the skills you want while at work.