Why It Pays to Be Career Smart

The world has witnessed unprecedented changes including social, economical, political and technological changes over the last few decades. As a result of these changes, businesses models are changing on average every 3-4 years, in comparison to 10-15 years previously. Consequently, this has had an impact on the way businesses operate and the way people work

The workplace requires employees to take greater control of learning and development. Long gone are the days when individuals’ careers were mapped out for them by management or HR. Instead, the onus is now upon individuals to be the architects in designing their own careers. Employees should see this as an excellent opportunity to excel in individual career management and feel this is likely to have a very positive impact on earning potential.

Enjoying Learning and Increase Earnings

Individuals are also moving from one company to another more frequently than previously and this is demonstrative of the changing nature of the working environment. When an individual engages in professional development, this suggests that s/he is committed, versatile, flexible and adaptable. These attributes may have a positive impact on any employer when it comes to the hiring process.

With the rights skills set and competencies, an individual can negotiate a better remuneration package. This can be achieved by highlighting new skills attained and knowledge or competencies acquired as a result of being proactive in terms of professional development. By doing so, an individual can demonstrate that s/he is prepared to undertake professional development in his/her own time to enhance his/her career.

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Benefits of Continuous Learning

Whilst businesses may be focusing on impacting their bottom line performances, individuals need to be seen to develop skills and knowledge which will make them appealing to any employer. There are numerous other benefits to continuous learning and some of these benefits are highlighted below:

  • Acquiring new skills and therefore increasing growth opportunities and development
  • Upskilling can positively impact remuneration
  • Increase career advancement prospects
  • Increase in professional performance and productivity
  • Increase in self esteem
  • Increase in confidence
  • Greater professional empowerment
  • Greater sense of achievement
  • Greater clarity in personal and professional arena
  • Ability to make informed decisions based on new learning and development
  • Gain confidence to push comfort zones further away
  • Setting goals continuously
  • Adopting a positive approach to personal and professional life
  • Proactive learning may even encourage an employer to financially assist an employee fund further studies.

This provides a perfect opportunity for individuals to become architects in managing his/her own career effectively. Where organisations may be cutting back on training and development, individual employees need to be seen taking up greater professional development, even it meant deploying personal resources.

How to Identify the Right Learning Opportunities

It may transpire that the individual need not undertake any formal qualifications and instead enjoy vocational learning either by taking short courses, online learning, attending seminars or reading around the subject in greater detail. However, if an individual feels that a course may be appropriate, then the following questions may serve as a useful reminder in selecting appropriate learning material and courses:

  1. What is the main aim of undertaking self learning and development?
  2. What does the end goal look like?
  3. Who else can help in making informed decisions relating to learning?
  4. Where is the course(s) being offered?
  5. Is the course(s) officially recognised by any accredited bodies?
  6. How many hours/days/months of self study are required?
  7. How feasible is self study?
  8. How will the course be funded?
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Taking on additional learning activities can have an impact on an individual’s life, but with careful time management an asset allocation, the end result can outweigh the input of resources such as costs, time and energy.

Improve Employment Prospects

The employee is expected to be more dynamic in terms of meeting the many challenges of continuous changing world. For those individuals who see the need to engage in greater professional development, will be the ones who are going to yield many benefits. One of the main benefits of continuous learning is to the ability to increase earning potential. Better skills leads to better career prospects, which impacts the quality of an individual’s life.

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