My recommendation to everyone for 2010 is to KEEP LEARNING!
Job hunting or not, promise yourself that you will learn something new and relevant every day – whether it is related to the job you currently have or the job you want to have some day.
Keep in mind the 2nd “Two Simple Questions” from DanPink.com, posted on 01/01/10.
Am I better today than I was yesterday?
Stop Learning at Your Peril
Particularly now, with the very high velocity of technology change in our world and our workplaces, if you don’t keep learning, unpleasant things will happen: you will fall behind your competition in the marketplace for that next job search, and your professional/business network will get smaller and less effective. Both translate into less success in business (or education or government, etc.) and fewer options for you in the job market. Neither has to happen to you!
In my involuntary-change-can-be-good blog post earlier this week, I wrote about the benefits I’ve seen from change inflicted on us by an outside source, like a job loss. Those big changes can happen at any moment, so time to be an Eagle Scout and be prepared! The good news is that you’ll impress your current employer, too.
This is really an issue for ALL of us, but these days I see two groups of people I think of as needing to pay special attention to this issue:
- Long-term unemployed – Particularly as the time between jobs drags out into months, even years, knowledge and skills become out-of-date, which impacts your market value and the job requirements you meet. A senior level person becomes mid-level; mid-level becomes more junior. It’s painful, but it can happen, particularly when the time between jobs stretches out over a year.
- Former employees of out-of-date employers – I’ve run into job seekers who worked for failing employers seemingly frozen in time – the very small distributor who has minimal back-office automation, the retailer who thinks an ad in the Yellow Pages is marketing, the doctor’s office run with a typewriter and copy machine, etc.
Many of these people seemed to feel it was their employers’ responsibility to keep them up-to-date. If the company wouldn’t pay for them to learn something, it wasn’t worth learning, and they certainly weren’t going to invest in their own brains! Yikes!
Learning Is Key to Success NOW
In the first weeks after my layoff, one incident brought this home to me. Soon after I was laid off, I took advantage of my newly ”flexible schedule” to attend a day-long seminar in a topic which had always interested me, but which I had been unable to attend before because it wasn’t directly related to my work and my employer wasn’t willing to let me take the time to go.
Paying my own way into it was a bit of a shock, but it certainly made me feel invested in the event – literally and figuratively. I was determined to get MY money’s worth. As the day progressed, I noticed that I could pick out the people who were attending because “the boss” wanted them to attend. The people sitting beside me - arrived a little late, took a longer lunch, and left early to “beat the traffic.” A terrible shame because they really would have benefited as much as their employer, maybe more.
How to Learn One New Thing a Day
Learning one new thing a day is really not that hard! It can be as simple as keeping up with the latest news for your industry or profession, which is very important from a career self-defense perspective (e.g. avoiding going to work for a company with a bad reputation), or reading a book or taking a class about the latest version of Microsoft Office.
Here are some sources of new information:
Technology - an amazing resource:
- On Twitter, follow solid, highly-respected information sources and thought leaders for your field, depending on your job and your plans.
- Read the blogs important to your industry or profession
- Set up Google Alerts on the keywords/keyword phrases important to your industry or profession – search blogs and news.
Books – read a chapter in a business-related book, daily, until you’ve finished it. Then, start another. You’ll be amazed at the interesting ideas circulating, and it will widen your horizons. Check out the best sellers in the NY Times, Business Week, Amazon, etc.
After you read the whole book, demonstrate your intelligence and critical skills by writing a thoughtful and knowledgeable review of the book under your “Real Name” on Amazon for a boost to your personal branding!
Job-Hunt’s Green Industry Online Job Search Guide – connect with associations, job boards, employers, articles, and other information in this important new aspect of all of our lives.
Share - considering your career aspirations, what methods and sources of learning do you see? Feel free to offer your ideas below.
Falling behind is just not a good option, for a person or an organization, and if you aren’t learning something new every day, you’re falling behind. Even “negative learning” – learning about what you don’t want or what you should avoid – is useful. So pick up the learning habit in 2010, and keep learning from now on. Bonus: it will help you keep your brain young, too, as the years start adding up!
About the author…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 1998, her company, NETability, Inc. purchased Job-Hunt.org, and Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt since then. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg.