Today’s job market is fast-paced and competitive, and it can be easy to get left behind if you have old skills or outdated industry practices. Sharpen your skills or learn something new through additional education or training, and you will be steps ahead of your competition.
It’s important to update your professional skills and continue learning best practices for your career field. In today’s fierce job market, your education, skills and experience are what set you apart. “It’s to your advantage to learn updated skills,” says Teresa Obinger, director of career services for Globe University. “It’s easier to get hired when the employer knows you will require less training.”
Obinger points out that people skills are always transferable, but technical skills can become out-of-date quickly. “You used to be able to list the last 10 years of experience on your resume, but now it makes more sense to only do the last five to seven,” she says. “Those skills from 10 years ago just aren’t relevant anymore.”
The more special skills you have, the more you will set yourself apart and stand out among your competition. When applying for a job, Obinger recommends taking the top five skills listed in the description and specifically highlighting them in your resume. “If the position calls for skills in Microsoft Office, show that you are an expert in PowerPoint by listing some projects you have completed using it,” she says. Narrowing down your resume to the specific skills an employer is looking for will clearly show how you are the one they should hire. “There are many candidates who will be qualified for the job,” says Obinger. “But there’s a difference between being qualified and having the actual skills and experience needed.”
Continue to educate yourself by learning something new as often as you can. Obinger says there are a few different way to do this. “Seek out organizations on LinkedIn offering continuing education courses in your industry,” says Obinger. She also suggests taking a refresher course at your local college for free. Some institutions allow for students to audit a class, not for credit or a grade, but simply for the learning experience. Obinger says this is a good way to observe and educate yourself on the latest career practices.
For those looking to earn a degree or go back to school, continuing your education is always a good idea because the percentage of employers seeking candidates with formal degrees is growing. “You should always look to that next degree level if you can, whether it be a bachelor’s or master’s degree, it will separate you from those whose degree may be outdated for the position,” Obinger says.
If you don’t have time or can’t afford to take a formal class or certification course, there are still ways to update your expertise. “If it’s a basic skill you’re looking to learn, refresh your knowledge by watching a tutorial on YouTube or reading the help section of a software website,” says Obinger. Do your own research on the latest practices and terminology by reading industry news or reaching out to professionals in the field. “Contact your connections on LinkedIn or join an organization or group in your career field,” Obinger says. “Ask them about new skills that might come into play on-the-job.” Checking with your current employer about free training sessions or webinars is a good option too.
Whether it’s through sitting in on a class, earning a certification, watching an online tutorial or pursuing that next degree level, you should always strive to be better at your profession. Sharpening your skills and refreshing your knowledge will keep you relevant and give you an advantage over other job candidates. To learn more about Globe University and career support services visit www.globeuniversity.edu/about-us/career-services.