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Build Career Skills, Not Just Job Skills

In today's job market, it is important for employees to build skills for a career and not just a job.

Career skills will keep you employed for a lifetime, while job skills will keep you employed until your role evolves. If you don't invest in ongoing learning and upskilling, your employer might move on without you. To remain employable, it is critical for individuals to seek out ongoing learning to ensure your skills do not go the way of the compact cassette.

How do you know what skills you should be developing?

The key to building career skills for the long-term, skills that benefit you as a current and future employee as well as your current and future employers, is to engage your manager in ongoing Career Conversations. Not just a single conversation, Career Conversations are designed to help you set and achieve your career goals while providing maximum HR benefit to your employer every day you are employed. In other words, by discussing your career with your boss, you'll be a better employee, and you'll build a career that will last.

Here are three things you can do right now to start building career skills that are valuable to your employer and demonstrate you're interested in sticking around for the long haul:

  • Start a Career Conversation with your boss. Find out what skills you need to develop today to be a better employee next year, five years from now, and beyond. Your boss should be able to track your development so that you can reach your career goals and the company can profit from your efforts. Don't think of it as just one conversation. A Career Conversation is an ongoing dialogue focused on your professional development.
  • Seek out and invest in ongoing learning. Keep educating yourself through sabbaticals, MOOCs, and professional development courses. Valuable employees are employees who seek continuous improvement and skills updating. With the rapid pace of technological change in practically every industry today, it is important to stay ahead of the curve and demonstrate that you understand your value to the organization. Planned sabbaticals, online courses related to your career, and professional development seminars keep you competitive and up-to-date on your career skills.
  • Keep an eye on emerging technology. It's important to know where your industry is going. What will be important to employers five years from now? How about 10 years? What do you need to learn to be employable then? Train for the next 5-10 years and you will be a valued member of the workforce in great demand.

Start today in building career skills. Leave the job skills behind and turn yourself into an employee that employers compete for. It all begins with that first Career Conversation.

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