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Think Critically and Creatively As You Build Your Career

Job stability, a recession-proof career, and overall security – all are goals for professionals, but all are outside of our individual control. I recommend making yourself professionally agile by diversifying your skill set to include core skills for a variety of professions and/or fields. The more employable you can make yourself, the better chances you stand of weathering any major shakeups to your current career field, as well as heightens your chances of landing on your feet in a new field should you decide to make a change.

First, keep in mind the ways you can broaden your skill set. Preferably, choose the options are available to you at little to no cost. Consider shadowing other positions on your current job in order to familiarize yourself with responsibilities outside of your current position. As you acquire new skills, add them to your resume to make yourself stand out as a unique candidate.

Also, be sure to take advantage of any additional training that your employer will contribute towards either in part or in full. Many professions have ongoing trainings and webinars that professionals can attend virtually or in-person to receive information about developments in a field, or training on new best practices. Take advantage of those, as many of them double as networking opportunities.

Next, consider certifications as a method to enhance and diversify your skill set. I am a big fan of certs simply because they are more affordable ways to add emphases to your resume based on your career interests, giving you the option to drill down in certain areas to pinpoint your expertise. These are especially popular in technical fields such as information technology and software development.

Another reason I like certifications is because they are pretty easy to get your employer to pay for if you can provide explanation of how you might use the certification to improve your contributions to the organization. If you satisfy the requirements of your employer to qualify for such a type of education credit or professional development stipend, I highly recommend checking into some certifications you can use to further boost your career’s vitality.

Lastly, don’t forget to focus on the soft skills of career development. Yes, employers want to know that you possess the necessary skills to perform a job well, but they also want to know that you can handle periods of high stress, collaborative situations that require compromise and teamwork, that you can be trusted to work individually when asked and that you can accept constructive criticism. These are skills you learn on the job, but they can also be acquired through simple, everyday life. I find that habits are a lot easier to stick to when you adopt them seamlessly. If you’re quitting smoking, that means you are committing to curbing your smoking habits at home as well as at work, while out with your friends drinking, while at home bored, at all times.

Similarly, I think soft skills are habits you should practice in all aspects of your life in order to get good at them. How do you deal with noisy neighbors, rude people on the Internet, or conflict with friends? If your response is to get into shouting matches, hurl insults through the phone, or put people on blast via social media, those tendencies will show up in your professional life and serve to hold you back in some way. Practice empathy, patience, and gratitude in all aspects of your life and with all people to prepare you for an easier time in the still-cutthroat professional world.

Antoinette is an online curriculum designer who moonlights as an author, editor, yogini, and host of The Midday Reset Podcast. When she is not designing courses, authoring books, or recording episodes for her podcast, she is enjoying life with her husband and two children. Find her on Instagram @msantoinettechanel.

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