Did you ever claim to do something on your resume that was maybe stretching the truth a bit? Even Richard Branson from Virgin has stated it is a good idea to tell a company you can do something, even when you cannot. You can always learn later, right?
So, here are the quickest ways to pick up skills for a new job. This advice is also helpful for those job seekers who want to learn something new before a job interview or need to pick up some new skills for a possible promotion.
Establishing goals helps you save time on learning random skills that will not help your career. If you want to move into a new department or industry or get a promotion, you need to establish what is required to learn.
To do this, it is helpful to speak with people who are currently in positions you hope to one day achieve. Talk to managers and people with the skills you wish to possess one day. Once you have decided exactly what you want to learn, try these quick ways to pick up skills for your potential new job.
Meet with mentors
Reach out to people you admire that have achieved a position you wish to have one day. Politely ask them to lunch or for 30 minutes of their time. Explain to them what you are trying to do and be prepared for some “humble pie”. If you ask questions and do not like the answers, do not defend yourself with annoying statements like, “I knew that already.”
Explain your course of action and then ask your questions. Once you ask your questions, keep your mouth closed and your ears open. This is one of the fastest ways to learn because your mind is focused on “listening” instead of “what to say next”.
When your meeting with a mentor ends, always be thankful and aim to build relationships. Down the road, your mentors may become key players in your career success. Always be mindful of their time and never be pushy. Free advice from those who have succeeded is...well...priceless.
Shadow other workers and teams
In order to learn a skill outside of your current role, job, or industry, it helps to spend time with people and teams. They are working in an area you hope to one day, so get to know the type of people who hold those jobs.
Let’s say you want to one day learn how to code or be an engineer, but you work in Customer Service Management. As you communicate with teams in Product Development or Quality Assurance, try talking with them and spending time finding out how they work. You may even have the time to shadow them as they work with you.
Try being a supportive, silent participant in their meetings. Listen to find out what they consider important and what you need to deliver if you were in the same position. Just never shadow another team so much that you start to lose focus on your current job duties. And do not get in the way of others as they try to work. Many engineers got their start as children by helping adults with little things like handing them tools or asking questions like, “What are you working on?”.
Take business courses and webinars
There is an endless availability of business courses and webinars due to LinkedIn and email marketing. Some classes may simply be scams set up to make money while offering no information or value. Go through LinkedIn and see what types of webinars and business courses are trending and held by respectable business leaders.
If you find nothing there, try resources like MediaBistro, CodeAcademy, and Coursera. Costs and time differ, but there is no shortage of information to be learned. Don't forget about the universities and community colleges near you! They may offer courses taught by adjunct professors.
Yes, the oldest method of learning might just be the most reliable. Reading eliminates all the dependencies that come with other ways of learning. You set your schedule for learning. You can pick up a book or read an article online anytime. You learn at your own pace, even if only a few pages a day.
Build your way up on your reading list. Start with light reading and work your way up to the heavy in-depth books for experts. Getting in too deep before you know what you are reading will be discouraging and may lead you to think something is too hard to do.
The fact is, you just approached reading materials before you were ready.