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.
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.
Most people use the Education section of their resumes to list their degrees to show their qualifications for a particular position. This section of the resume seems pretty cut and dried. List schools, cities and dates of attendance and move on to distributing the resume. However, in today’s difficult economy, being competent may not be enough to land you that coveted first step to a job: being named as a candidate. You need to show the potential employer how you are going to wow them, exceed their wildest dreams, and how you will solve their most difficult problems. You can do this by showing the employer that you are a life-long learner.
By all means, list your degrees on your resume and leave off their dates of completion if you feel that it dates you. But make an effort to keep learning and to update your skills. Add related skills to your professional resume that will build on your primary skill sets. Go to workshops. Take continuing education classes, set aside time for informative webinars. Knowledge becomes quickly obsolete in this age of technology; those who keep learning and use that knowledge in their careers are the employees who will be most productive and get noticed by management. It isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Yes, learning does take time, but you get the opportunity to experiment during work and see which skills work in a given situation and which don’t. This is valuable knowledge, and it deserves a place on your resume, right under your degree list. Make it snazzy. For example, don’t just list “Internet Search Webinar.” Make sure you list the appropriate webinar name such as “Weddles Guide to Internet Searches.” Weddles is a respected and known name within the job search industry. The name signifies that you learned valuable information by attending this webinar. Above all, be prepared to talk about any new experiences you listed on your resume with an interviewer. Tell how this new learning can resolve employer problems and how it can be used to train other employees. Make a case for life-long learning, and you may just start a trend at your new workplace to give employees funds and time off to pursue new learning.