Keeping your skills fresh is one of the best ways to stay relevant in a competitive job market.
And even in softer recruitment cycles, possessing sought-after skills can impart an edge, including nailing that much-wanted (and deserved!) promotion.
So why do so many people hit cruise control when it comes to acquiring new skills? (And sometimes at the worst possible time in their careers, that mid-level.) There is fear of the unknown, cost considerations, the ever-present time crunch of trying to balance work and family, and, of course, figuring out what track of learning to pursue.
It doesn’t have to be so daunting. To help, we’ve done a little bit of the homework for you, gathering five reasons why continuous learning can be the smartest career investment of all:
It’s not about the degree
There is a vast world of options outside the much-repeated “MPM vs. MBA vs. PMP” debate. While formal advanced degrees are worthwhile for many to pursue, a number of practicing project managers have degrees unrelated to project management and decide to pursue relevant certifications. Popular blogger and IT project manager Elizabeth Harrin at “A Girl’s Guide to Project Management” notes her two degrees are in English Literature. “But,” she writes, “you will benefit from a project management qualification such as PMP, CAPM or PRINCE2 in order to get a job as a project manager.”
Age is nothing but a number
It’s natural to feel nervous about age differentials in the workforce, but advancement today can be much more about attitude, skills and passion than any number on a birth certificate. Be sure you understand exactly what are the in-demand tools and skills. Still stuck? Find a friend or mentor within your company who is known as an early adopter to help guide you. Bonus: Their enthusiasm for the new and the now may be infectious. A recent study by Money magazine and Payscale.com found strategic project management and strategic planning were among some of the most sought after skills, leading to average pay boosts of around 4 percent.
You can choose your own adventure
Never before has there been more choice around professional learning — nor has it ever been more accessible. You can do training online, in-person or a blended method where you combine the flexibility of self-directed learning with focused support. What’s important here is to make sure the program fits your desired work-life balance, goals and learning style. Nearly 9,000 people gain skills, knowledge and accreditation each year with our training programs. Don’t forget to ask your human resources department at work if there is tuition reimbursement available.
New skills equal new perspectives
Think back to childhood when learning was as essential to your everyday experience as food and air. Learning one thing leads you down a satisfying path of even newer experiences. Don’t underestimate how quickly that feeling will rush back once you commit to a career path cantered on learning as much as accomplishment or promotion.
Data can help
According to the Australian government, there are more than 40 occupations experiencing serious skill shortages right now. Such shortages exist, the Department of Employment says, “when employers are unable to fill or have considerable difficulty filling vacancies for an occupation, or significant specialised skill needs within that occupation, at current levels of remuneration and conditions of employment, and in reasonably accessible locations.” The list might be worth a look. If none of these areas fit your career or future goals, there are many more options when it comes to leveraging government data. Australia keeps a robust database of training options, currently showing 407 different training options for project managers. The site includes detailed information on actual student outcomes, including if attendees received any job-related benefits from training. A must-read for anyone seeking skill enhancements.
PM-Partners group offers a number of Project Management Certifications, you can view the full schedule here, alternatively speak to one of our Professional Development Consultants on 1300 70 13 14.
We’d love to know: What training has worked for you? What motivated you to choose it?