The only source of knowledge is experience. 
-Albert Einstein

Knowledge does come from experience and experience is the key to grow your value and worth in your career. If you want to continue to grow your income and land that dream job that you want, you’ll need to continue to hone your skills and build relevant experience. 

Develop fundamental skills

It doesn’t matter what type of job that you have or what industry you land in, there is a set of fundamental skills that successful people need to continue to grow. Companies look to these skills at “get in the door” qualities for higher level positions. 

  • Accountable:  You take responsibility for your success and failures. You don’t make excuses when you fall short or place blame elsewhere. 
  • Beats expectation: You over deliver on your promises and expectations. Bonus points if you are doing this with yourself and through your team. 
  • Prioritization: You simply get things done. You don’t waste lots of time focusing on the wrong things. 
  • Customer focused: No matter what you call the group/person you serve, you do it very well and put them up as the priority.  (PTB episode 10)

Think about any job out there and put these five traits up to it. You are always going to be a top performer if you are doing these things well.  It may be helpful to list these items out and evaluate yourself on how you stand in each area. Once you identify a few areas to work on, look to use your school or work time to grow in that area. Do you need to take up new responsibilities? Do you need to work on a better end product on what you turn in? Do you need to handle yourself better when a problem comes up?

Stand out by developing specialized skills

A specialized skill can help you stand out in your organization or as you think about your next career move. Work on something that adds value to your current position and can help you get to the next thing that you want. A few great places to look and start include:

  • Professional organizations in a field that interest you or one that is around your current job responsibilities.
  • Certification in your field that no one/few people in your organization have. The certification institute will often help you with tools and materials to present to your employer for them to see the value and perhaps help in the costs. 
  • Identify key growth areas for your company. Are there some skills that you can learn to help the organization in that area? It may not require a full certification but perhaps a class or certificate on a specialized skill will help. 

Where to start gaining experience

So where do you start in gaining experience? It can be a challenge no matter your career stage and you may feel stuck. Here are some places to research for opportunities.   

  • School: Do you need to go to (or back to) a school to get a degree or perhaps just take some classes? 
  • Volunteering in the community: There are more chances to volunteer than you likely realize. Do an internet search for volunteer opportunities in your area. (PTB episode 46: What volunteering can teach us)
  • Internships
  • Freelance, contract: Expanding your experiencing in freelancing is a great way to grow. Look at sites like fivver and other sites that cater to freelancers. 
  • Non-profits: Linkedin often shows opportunities in non-profits to help in a professional way. They are often non-paid positions but help tremendously in gaining real experience. 

Remember to keep a written track of all your experience. It’s easy to forget all the things that you have done after a fair amount of time passes. 

Develop your fundamental skills and look for strategic ways to grow your experience. It doesn’t have to all come from the school that you are in or the job that you are at. We’ll continue to look at more ways to grow your experience, and career next week. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH