training

brain workoutLearning: the acquisition of knowledge or skills through study, experience or being taught.

As the UK faces a nationwide skills shortage, ask yourself: How often do you do training or learn something new? If you aren’t stretching yourself regularly, are you adding to the problem?

As children we are constantly learning, evolving, developing…but as adults that learning curve seems to tail off. We get wrapped up in our roles, completing daily tasks, meeting targets – that we forget to learn. The consequences? Employees’ skills are becoming outdated and getting left behind as technology advances at a rapid pace.

I have recently been coaching a team of three developers. Each of them has a different approach to learning.

Developer 1 waits to learn from others, complaining when their colleagues are too far ahead and he can’t keep up. Developer 2 has the ability to learn, however feels threatened by Developer 3, who spends hours learning new things in his own time. Developer 3’s approach to work is that he will teach himself what he needs to know, in order to solve the new problems that technology is bringing.

Now, there is no right or wrong approach here. Perhaps Developer 3 has lost sight of a ‘work-life balance’! Or perhaps he loves his job so much, that learning is actually a pleasure for him. Some may call Developer 1 lazy, or say that Developer 2 is jealous. But that’s not the point! Learning shouldn’t stop when we become adults and get sucked up into the world of work. In fact, learning becomes more important than ever (unless you want to find yourself on the job scrap heap).

Learning is key to accelerating your career

Think about the three developers. Which camp do you fall into? Do you wait and complain? Or are you capable but worried about being shown up by someone more confident? Or do you just go for it, and lead the way? Which of those developers is most likely to get a promotion, be given greater responsibility, or retained if redundancies are to be made? Developer 3. The proactive self-learner, who really loves what he does.

A company who is getting learning right: C3 IoT 

This American technology firm offer their employees $1000 for every training course they take. This means that not only can they hire employees with the potential to learn (rather than searching for candidates who tick all the exact requirements), but they also ensure that their employees keep their knowledge up to date. In fact, the desire to self-learn is one of their key requirements when hiring. For the employees – these training bonuses are not just financial, they feel more valued by their employees and appreciate the support given to their own personal and professional development. Read more about C3 IoT in this Case Study.

 What can we learn from this? Learning should never stop

This approach to learning isn’t just limited to the technology industry. It applies to every role, in every industry. Change is so rapid that if you aren’t thinking about the redundancy of your skills or what you are doing, by the time you wake up you’re on the scrap heap! Across the UK companies are restructuring, shifting and evolving ahead of Brexit. Employers will be looking for candidates who are open to adapting, learning new skills and taking on new roles and opportunities. Are you open to a new career opportunity or challenge? Positioning yourself as open-minded and ready to learn will make you a whole lot more attractive to companies managing change.

Finding time to learn

So many of us find it hard to carve out time to learn things that don’t fire us up. The trick to staying relevant in today’s job market is to find something you believe in, something that you’ll love doing, and that ticks several of the criteria you set yourself that your work needs to contain.

While we would love to see all companies embracing the C3 IoT approach and giving their employees financial incentives to learn, that’s not likely to happen. But learning doesn’t need to involve expensive courses or costly resources. So often what we learn is free! It’s available online, in books, by talking to people, asking questions, attending events. All that costs is time and a little effort. And when it comes to learning, time is never wasted.

By doing this, the next time your employer is considering restructuring, you might just find yourself top of the ‘must retain’ list, rather than bottom of the pile. 

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It’s our firm belief that it’s better to be at the bottom of a (career) ladder you want to climb, rather than halfway up one you don’t.

So, are you on the right ladder?

After a horrible few years, the UK job market is finally starting to pick-up.  Disillusioned professionals up and down the country are seeing the dawn of a new year as an opportunity to re-evaluate and ask themselves whether now is the time to find the ladder they want to climb.

“The difference between a job and a career is the difference between forty and sixty hours a week.” Robert Frost.

What Career?

On a daily basis, we encounter highly skilled individuals whose confidence has been hit by being stuck in a job – and a career – ill-suited to their talents.

But it’s understandable that many are reluctant to actually take the plunge and leave a job that, although they may hate, pays the bills every month.

We previously detailed the five main obstacles to changing career; and steps in which you can take to overcome them. It’s never going to be risk free. It’s never going to be a guaranteed success. But, while we’ve seen so many unhappy employees, we’ve also subsequently seen so many of these same individuals who now look forward to going to work.  They have realised there is more to a career than financial factors and have found something that they enjoy and where their skills are best suited.

 “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Confucius.

It’s not as far-fetched or ridiculous as you may think. It really can happen.!

Get Started!

Remember, it’s you who is in control of your career. If you dread going to work every day, it’s you who needs to make something happen so this isn’t always the case.

If you’re unhappy in your job, at a crossroads and don’t know what career to choose or are simply pondering your career options, our What Career? Workshop will provide a great starting point to giving you the training and self-belief needed to find yourself a career ladder you want to climb.

The workshop takes place on Monday 3 March and is an informal all-day session taking place in Warmington. You can find out more and buy tickets online here; discounted ‘early bird’ rates are on offer until 17 February so book early to avoid disappointment!

Career Ambitions is dedicated to enabling individuals realise their dreams by finding the career that is most suited to them. Contact us via support@careerambitions.co.uk or 01223 633535 to see how we can help you.

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Using Social Media to boost your job hunt

Unless you’ve spent the last four years living under a rock, you will have noticed the boom in popularity of social media websites.

Even the biggest social media sceptic is beginning to come around to the idea of posting their photos to Facebook, keeping up with the news on Twitter and networking round-the-clock on LinkedIn.

Times have changed.

Social media now plays a huge part in modern-day society, with people of all ages. Over half of the UK population now owns a Facebook account, with businesses also using a range of social media websites in an attempt to promote their services and connect with their customers.

But why is this relevant to your career? We’ve recently discussed the importance of networking when you’re looking to progress to a new job or career; now, social media websites give you the platform to do this 24/7.

Whilst no prospective employer is going to care about your postings regarding what you’ve had for breakfast on Facebook, it is important to consider your social media output.

If you’re a career professional, profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ form part of your overall ‘brand’. And this ‘brand’ may be considered by would-be employers.

LinkedIn

This is no more apparent than on LinkedIn, the professional networking website that now has over 200 million worldwide users.

LinkedIn has completely changed the recruitment process; with more and more recruiters now scouring the social media website for the best candidates and, crucially, approaching them. This means that, simply by possessing a LinkedIn profile, passive candidates are becoming active.

Which, of course, means that it’s important to be utilising LinkedIn if you’re looking to progress your career.

21st Century Job Searching and Social Media – Get it Right!

As part of our triple-header of Get it Right! Masterclasses at New College Stamford, we will be hosting a free half-day workshop which discusses the use of social media in a job hunt in greater detail, giving you the best possible tips and practices to using websites such as LinkedIn to get ahead in your career.

This ‘hands-on’ Career Masterclass is taking place on Monday 18 March and will illustrate how to:

  • Build, manage and monitor your online Profile
  • Get warm Introductions
  • Get worthwhile online recommendations
  • Join LinkedIn Groups for professional development
  • Add Connections
  • Be found by employers and head-hunters
  • …And so much more!

For more details, and to find out how to book your place, click here.

Career Ambitions is dedicated to enable individuals to realise their dreams by finding the career that is most suited to them. Contact us via support@careerambitions.co.uk or 01223 633535 to see how we can assist you.

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