If you’re paying attention, you know that the velocity of change has increased dramatically in the last few years.
From how we communicate with friends and family 5 minutes or 5,000 miles away to how we find new jobs, do necessary research and gain new skills, we have new processes available to us.
For job seekers, this means staying up-to-date is not optional.
Are you up-to-date? Are you comfortable using the technology required by most employers for your job? Are you paying attention to the technology that is impacting your industry and profession? Don’t assume that someone is watching over you, ensuring that you are staying current.
Getting Up-to-Date is EASY Now
Whether you are employed or unemployed, taking personal responsibility for your own skills and knowledge is no longer optional. Few employers invest in their staff these days because, on average, people change employers every 4 years. For those under 35, that statistic is 2.3 years.
Even if you have been unemployed for 2 years (maybe especially if you have been unemployed for an extended period), employers need to see proof that you are up-to-date. BTW, being employed doesn’t prove you have current skills and knowledge, either. So everyone in a job search or who is trying to manage their career needs to be demonstrably up-to-date.
Know What’s Happening in Your Field
Being well-informed is not optional now. Fortunately, while technology may be the villain in this situation, it is also probably your best way to pay attention to what is happening around you:
- Set up Google Alerts on key terms, like your employer’s products or services, your employer’s competitors, your industry, and your profession, the “thought leaders” in your field or industry, etc.
- Attend “virtual” or live (if you can afford it) professional/industry conferences.
- Monitor news and new developments in your field (again Google Alerts can be very helpful).
- Use LinkedIn to track the thought leaders in your field and industry to see what they are doing, saying, writing. “Follow” them, and monitor their updates.
What are your employer’s competitors doing? How is technology impacting your employer’s business?
Take Control of Your Professional Training
This is easier to do now than it has ever been in the past. Knowing what is happening in your field and industry (above) shows you what you need to become more informed about.
More than ever before, amazing training and education are now available to anyone, any time as long as you have a good connection to the Internet.
Check out the online learning venues to learn about the new technology and techniques impacting your field or industry:
- MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) covers a wide variety of classes, usually for free or very low cost (for certifications) from many different schools.
- edX provides free online courses from the world’s top schools, like MIT and Harvard.
- If you need the basics of math, science, and computers, KhanAcademy.org provides it at a high school (or lower) level.
- The technology courses provided by Lynda.com are now also available through LinkedIn.com (LinkedIn purchased Lynda in mid-2015).
- Many other sources of online education exist. Just check your favorite search engine to find them.
Today, none of us really has a good excuse for not staying current with our field and industry. Technology is causing the changes, but also making it easier to stay up to date.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at WorkCoachCafe!
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. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management since 2012, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.