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Keeping Your Skills Current

Updated on August 13, 2013

You might think that keeping your skills current doesn't matter in your job, or that it's more important in other fields, like tech careers. In fact, you can benefit from staying up-to-date no matter what kind of work you do- no matter what the in demand careers are. Learning new skills can be stimulating and motivating, and it can help keep your mind young. New methods of communication, changes in technology, and increasing global competition impact many types of jobs. In addition, strengthening your skills can help you do the following:

  • Build confidence. Keeping your skills up-to-date can give you the confidence to handle any tasks that your employer expects you to perform.
  • Stay flexible and enthusiastic about your work. You may become reluctant to take on new projects if your skills are rusty or you lack some abilities that are needed to take on a new project.
  • Make even better use of your time. Sharpening your skills can help you become more efficient and productive.
  • Become more valuable to your employer. Strengthening the skills you need to do your job (as well as your cross-functional skills) increases your chances of getting raises and promotions, and of holding onto your job. It also keeps you marketable.
  • Make a bigger contribution to your team. Your new skills can be good for co-workers, too. They will benefit from the work you do as a team.


What If You Are Unemployed?

The same goes for you. Use this down time to sharpen or acquire new skills to make yourself even more employable. In addition, you could also:

  • Volunteer your services. Volunteering may not seem like a good idea when you need cash, but it is a good way to show someone your hard working skills. There is nothing like a test employment relationship. Use it to your advantage.
  • Freelance. Do you have a marketable skill? Use it to your advantage by freelancing your services. You never know, it may turn into a small business opportunity. You may then be able to become your own boss.

Finally

Build your confidence by staying apprised of new methods, technologies and communication techniques. Become the strongest link in your team. Don't let the downtime of unemployment deter you from continuing to strive and reach your goals. Become the go-to-person when a need arises. Get that promotion or find that new job! Make a better you!

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