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When Learning Gets Personal Pt 1

As your career develops you will find that you come into contact with a wide variety of learning sources. If you are lucky you will come under the wing of a mentor who can guide you in your choices and help you chart a path to success. But for many of us, we will not have this luxury – our career paths may see us in similar roles with different employers; we may choose to strike out as a consultant, contracting for short and medium term projects; or it may be that we simply do not have the time to dedicate to our career development.

 

Despite these challenges, spending a small amount of time in evaluating your skills and planning your career can help open up career opportunities while growing your capabilities. This means getting up close and personal with your own skills. It’s about taking ownership, and there are a few steps that can get you started:

 

  1. Mentor yourself – even if you have a mentor, you owe it to yourself to actively consider your own career. Think about the professionals that you respect. Think about their attributes and the traits that you would like to replicate. Write them down.
  2. Align your skills and career – is there a match between the skills that you have and the skills that you need? Consider the hard and the soft skills. What do you need for success? Do your communication skills need work? Can your documentation skills benefit from more practice?
  3. Open source yourself – sometimes the gap between the career you have and the career you want is defined by a lack of experience. If you cannot find a way to bridge the experience gap, consider working on an open source project – perhaps even take the opportunity to establish your own small, open source project.

 

Even taking these small steps can invigorate your career. It provides you with a sense of direction and purpose and it starts to bring you into contact with the members of your professional community.

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