How To: Improve Your Skill Set

By Career Savvy

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After all the hard work it has taken to find and obtain your current job, it can be tempting to sit back, relax and get too comfortable in your new role. But now you need to consider your career development. Improving your skill set can help you to enhance your career and boost your prospects.

Here are Career Savvy’s top three ways to expand your skill set whilst in your full-time position.

Learn a language.

We British are not known for our enthusiasm when it comes to learning languages. Our complacent attitude is caused by the relatively widespread usage of the English language. However, learning a second language could open many doors in your career, helping you to obtain roles perhaps you never knew existed. When dealing with foreign clients, companies will often have to hire a translator to help with understanding meetings and important documents. Your ability to speak the client’s native language could help the company to cut out the middle man, as well as enable you to establish a better relationship with the client. As word gets around about your language skills, you will find many new opportunities and responsibilities will come your way in roles you never thought you would have the chance to take on. Opportunities can range from becoming a translator for a number of different departments, to being offered a position in your company’s offices abroad.

There are many ways you can learn a language, which one you choose to pursue will depend on how much time you have to invest in this venture. If you’d prefer a social element to your learning, then check out evening courses in your local area where you can meet and practice with friends. You can also study in the comfort of your own home with courses such as those Rosetta Stone provide. Or, to learn on the go, consider downloading apps or using online resources – many of these have the added benefit of being free!

Develop your IT skills.

It’s no secret that technology has had a significant effect on the workplace over the last decade. Therefore it’s important that your IT skills are up to scratch when it comes to handling data, software and the internet at work. This will involve making sure that you’re able to use spreadsheets and databases confidently, as well as any programs frequently used by the company. File management is also an important skill to develop: you can save a considerable amount of time by knowing how to organise and share files efficiently. In terms of software, the best place to start is to ensure you have a good grasp of Microsoft Office products, such as PowerPoint and Excel. You can either complete a training course on a specific program or sign up to live tutorials. Another option is to complete a Computer Literacy qualification (CLAiT) which can give you an understanding of all of the basics, the third level of which is the equivalent of a NVQ or A-level qualification. Taking the time to complete IT courses will not only boost your confidence, but also impress your employer as it shows you’re determined and dedicated to developing your skills in order to benefit the company.

Postgraduate study.

Studying a postgraduate degree part-time can seriously boost your prospects as it enables you to add to your qualifications. It can help you to focus your career by becoming an expert in a particular subject. It will also provide you with a unique selling point which can be used when you decide to move on from your current role, either within the same company or elsewhere. It’s worth asking your employer whether they can sponsor your study to relieve the pressure of the costs involved. The online element of the majority of courses enables you to complete a lot of your study at home, therefore you will only have to worry about going to university on the odd occasion when you’re required to attend in-person. It’s important to know exactly what you want to gain from postgrad study as balancing it with your full-time job will be stressful and take serious commitment. Having the self-discipline and determination to expand your skill set through postgraduate study will not go unnoticed by employers, thus your prospects will be significantly boosted.

So don’t rest on your laurels once you have obtained your dream job, make sure you are continuously improving your skill set in order to get the most out of your career. By challenging yourself to learn new things and develop skills you never knew you had, you can be assured that many opportunities will come your way. 

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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