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Career Stalled? Spiff Up Your Skills!

October 15th, 2012

By: Karen Colligan

This whether you are currently employed or among the many who are “between opportunities,” keeping your skills and knowledge current and relevant can mean the difference between moving ahead and lagging behind.

What’s next for you? Is there a promotion you’ve set your sights on, or a job that’s just slightly out of reach? Now is the time to “get real” and put a plan in place to increase your skills and knowledge, improve your marketability, and build your confidence. Here’s a 5-Step Plan to get you going.

1. Take inventory. Get a piece of paper and make a list of your strengths and your development areas. Think about what you want to do next. Do some research to determine the skills and knowledge required to get you there. Is there anything you’re currently lacking? Add it to the list. Is there a certification or license required that you haven’t earned yet? Add it to the list.
2. Create a personal development plan. Determine which of the skills/knowledge you’ve identified in step one will most contribute to you successfully attaining your next career goal. Select one or two you will focus on in the next three months. Seek out resources that will help you develop in those areas – classes, a coach, book learning, volunteer opportunities. Create specific development actions for each skill/knowledge area. Commit to paper a plan that includes:

1. Skill/knowledge to develop/enhance
2. Resource
3. Target completion date

3. Execute the plan. Post your plan somewhere visible – your calendar, your desk, your refrigerator. Stay focused! Concentrate on the one or two areas you’ve prioritized – don’t get distracted by the other areas on your inventory list. Take a “melting pot” approach. Keep your eyes and ears open for articles, blogs by experts, presentations, webinars, etc., related to your focus areas. Learning comes in many forms, from many places. Capture it! Be accountable and/or enlist someone’s help to keep you accountable. Reward yourself for completing your development goals.

4. Update your resume/personal “infomercial.” When you’ve gained proficiency in the skill/knowledge area, add it to your resume, if appropriate. Practice incorporating your new knowledge/skill into your interview discussions. Blend it into the evolving “you.”

5. Review, revisit and revise the plan. How did your plan work? Did you set reasonable goals? Were the resources worthwhile? Did you find additional or alternate ones you’ll use next time? Revisit your inventory. What are the skills/knowledge areas you’re going to work on next? Create and execute a revised personal development plan that reflects your new focus areas and goals.

Too often when we’ve “got the job” we become complacent and/or too busy to think about what’s next and prepare for it. Putting a plan in place to continually add to your abilities and knowledge will keep your market value on an upward trend.

And remember: Don’t stop believing!!

Till next time,


Career, Career planning, Job search, Performance, The Get Real Guide to Your Career

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