Build Up Skills: Career Planning 101

Taking the time to build up skills is an excellent idea.

Case in point: Recently, an overseas client contacted me who was in the planning stages of moving back to the U.S.

Specifically, he was wondering about how to make the transition back to the American job market.

I suggested that he start reviewing U.S.-based job openings to get a sense of what the requirements are, and then take the time to sign up for online courses or attend conferences (if possible) in order to build up skills.

By reviewing what employers are looking for and then taking the time to strategically add the types of desired skills that boosts one’s candidacy,build up skills a job seeker gains a competitive edge.

But it is also important that no one person is 100% qualified to do any job – so don’t overtax yourself in your earnest attempts to build up skills.

Instead, try these tips:

• Read job descriptions and parse out what skill sets you don’t possess, then find an industry organization or training business that provides those skills… and sign up.

Examples of the types of things I am referencing are workshops, trainings, webinars, seminars, conferences, conventions, corporate learning universities, industry certifications and so on.

• Once you have gained the knowledge of HOW to do the skill, then the next step is to start putting those skills into immediate action.

• Volunteer within your professional industry organization as a way to build up skills.

By participating actively on projects, you can gain direct, hands-on experience that translates directly into viable experience.

• Conduct informational interviews with contacts within your target field, and ask them what soft skills are needed to do the job.

Oftentimes, employers are so focused on providing the task-based hard skills, they forget to add in the softer skills.

Understanding what those are and gaining experience can also help you stand out head and shoulders above others competing for the same job opening.

The more you take time to build up skills, the better career planner you are, because you’ll already have the tools you need when the dream job opening comes open, rather than scrambling at the last minute!