Did you know you can set up your day to have a quick opportunity to improve yourself? One of the nicest things about the internet is the opportunity to learn, and improving your language is going to make a difference in your career.
Here’s why language is important: the things you write online stay there. The impression you make with your speech and writing doesn’t fade too fast, either. If you are consistently using language the way that “everybody” uses language online, then you are automatically closing the street to opportunity.
Learn A Little Every Day
I like Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips because they are funny, memorable, and short. You may prefer another source, and there are certainly plenty out there. I also use the Gregg’s Reference Manual. It’s the bible for grammar geeks. What you need is a regular reminder of common mistakes and how to avoid those mistakes that you will enjoy reading. I’m always surprised at the things I learn. Something new every day!
That small, daily dose of language skills is a regular reminder of the importance of language. It might not seem like much, but the proper use of language moves you past barriers that keep your career from flourishing. It might be true that a top executive dictates letters to a secretary instead of writing them personally, but it’s also true that the executive still has to use language competently.
Learning a little every day is part of being a leader. Looking for life-long learning opportunities keeps your brain active and your attitude flexible for the challenges of being an influence both today and in the future. If your language skills are inadequate, you may have the greatest ideas in the world, but you can’t communicate those ideas very well.
Adding something like a daily grammar feature takes less than five minutes to read and enables a lifetime of opportunity.
Most managers are regular employees who get promoted, but a lot of times that promotion comes with the realization you lack some managerial skills. It’s different being in management, but there are some things you can work on even as an employee that will really help you when that promotion comes.
These skills are actually good to learn no matter what your position is. For instance, a bank teller needs to “act with authority” when explaining why a check bounced — Saying “It looks like you might have not had the funds in your account; I guess maybe that’s why it bounced” with hesitation doesn’t have the same level of authority as “Your account balance was $50.00 short of the check amount when it came into the bank and you don’t have any overdraft protection set up, so an automatic process began. This is what you can do about the situation….”
If you want to be ready to move up into management, start learning what you need to know.
A Checklist of Skills to Learn
learn how to be comfortable having difficult conversations — all managers have to be able to do this because sweeping problems under the rug doesn’t make them go away.
learn how to give feedback the right way — tell people when they are doing a good job, and if something is wrong, say so clearly without hinting around while providing a few reasonable suggestions.
learn how to clarify goals — ask the boss what practical benchmarks are being looked for so everyone can be on the same page. If you can’t measure it, you can’t all reach it.
learn how to act with authority — if the decision is based on policy, say so. If you want someone to do something, don’t make it sound like an option.
Learn how to separate relationships from work performance — sooner or later a manager has to confront a lousy employee and fire them even if that employee is a friend. This is one of the hardest things managers face.
Is Your Resume Ready?
One of the things that will be examined closely when your name comes up as a potential manager is your resume. If you aren’t confident your resume is ready for that examination, the Resume Critique can give you professional feedback and concrete suggestions for making sure you are ready for the next step in your career.
Employers like to hire people who keep their skills up to date. The best way to do this is to become a life-long learner. The Education resume section shouldn’t just begin and end with your university degrees. Keep on learning. Take classes, view webinars, participate in association chat and conference sessions, anything that will increase your knowledge and expertise in life and your job. There are a variety of places to look for life-long learning opportunities. You can start with Continuing Education through your professional association or college. Many PBS television stations carry some form of adult learning classes. Take the seminars that are offered through your job. Checkout online videos or webinars that showcase college lectures. Search for higher education institutions that allow you to take online classes. Some classes are free while others have a charge for earning credit. Scan your local paper for museums, institutes and other public places that offer classes. Classes for credit are good because you are tested and held accountable to learn what is being taught. But even classes that do not offer credit or that are not taken for credit will still add to your skill sets and knowledge base. These learning opportunities make you more valuable to employers. Employers are so interested in finding life-long learners as employees that some companies will offer educational opportunities to their employees on a regular basis. It may be in the form of company-sponsored computer classes, tuition reimbursement or even professional conferences. While you may be required to make a presentation on what you learned when you return from a conference, the knowledge gained and the increased skill sets on your resume may be worth it.
“The more you learn, the more you earn” — Brian Tracy
I heard that quote recently and thought, ‘wow, how true’. I mean, we all know that, right? If you don’t have your high school diploma, you’ll earn more if you get it. Then you earn more when you get your Bachelors, then your Masters, and so on.
I was thinking of my hoards of clients who continually improve themselves by taking a training course or getting an advanced degree. Any type of Professional Development is only going to improve your earning curve, whether it be in your current job or the next one. And really, in some jobs training is as important or more so than an advanced degree.
I’ve just begun some training on certain aspects of resume writing and I’ll tell you, I am SO EXCITED about it! I’ll be able to offer clients something different and it will improve my skills even more. Will I raise my prices due to this training? Well, that will depend on the resume. This is for special types of resumes, so perhaps for those, I will. And I should. It will be an enormous value for clients and will improve their chances of landing dream jobs even faster.
Have you had any training lately? Have you updated your resume with that? If not, do it now. It adds to your income earning potential and makes you more employable.
Whenever you get the chance, take that free training offered at your company. It adds tremendous value to you.
Until next time…
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