Your business evolves and serves new customers. Your business may implement new technology and new processes. If you don’t take ownership of your skills development, you will get left behind.

Join a professional association

A great way to stay current is by joining and participating in professional associations. There are thousands of professional associations, and most likely, several to choose from based on your industry and expertise. If you can join them in person, that’s great. Otherwise, follow them on social media, visit their website or sign up for their newsletters. Interact with younger professionals who are more likely to have new ideas. Talk with the older professionals who may be able to offer a new perspective on old problems.

Discover what’s next so you can prepare

Maybe you’re in HR, and there’s a new technology that companies are rolling out. You can assume that, eventually, your company will probably do the same or something similar. Take the initiative and begin to learn the new technology, become familiar with it, and maybe test out the functions if you have the opportunity. When it finally does roll around, you will be ahead of the game.

Maybe you are in training and development and there’s a lot of research being done about a particular way of conducting trainings that increases retention. You should start practicing that particular method and incorporating it into your process. Again, eventually it may become commonplace. By staying up to date, you stay valuable.

Follow industry blogs

Every industry has an array of bloggers who provide content related to what’s next, what’s new, and what’s important. These blogs can help you stay abreast of new and interesting things in your field. Follow the top companies, not only your own company, but also the competition. Follow them on social media. Look at what they are hosting and what they are talking about. All of these things will help you to stay on top of what’s new and what’s next.

Being a lifelong learner is crucial when you’re trying to find a new job

One thing employers look for are professionals who are engaged in their jobs and willing to learn and adjust. When you’ve had a job for a while, you learn a way of doing things, you get set in your ways and you go about your business. When you have to look for a new job, you have to adjust. A new company is going to do things differently.

(Why is it vital to stay educated? Consider reading: The Lifelong Learner)

Being a lifelong learner – and demonstrating it through your resume, your social media profile, your interview answers – sends a message to employers that you are someone who’s flexible and committed. Those are good things to be.

20 February 2014

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