As a career coach, I receive lots of emails (from business analysts, computer programmers, project managers, software testers, etc.) about how to be successful.
Here is the answer in a nutshell: Knowledge + Skills + Experience = Career Success!
The key to getting results is deep, skill building, career-focused learning.
For example, if you read about “how twitter can help you get a job“, go to Twitter.com right away, create an account and start posting tweets on your area of interest.
Practice right away … the second you finish reading a tip, blog post, article, book, review, listening to a podcast or watching a video.
The Goal of Learning Is Action
If you gain some new information … any information at all from any study, coaching, training or educational program, the value will be lost and your time wasted if you do not put it into action.
Some people think that they can skip this hands-on step. They read, nod, and think they’ve stored away the knowledge for instant retrieval when they need it.
They’ve learned something new, they think. And it will all come magically back to mind the next time they need it on the job, they say to themselves.
Or worse, they want to get hired for the knowledge they have stored up in their brains.
The brain doesn’t work that way. Read to learn — and make sure it sticks by reading carefully, re-reading, and immediately applying what you read to some hands-on assignment, problem, task or project.
Employers are of the opinion that your past performance is the best predictor of your future performance.
So, if you are not performing or doing something with what you know now … you are just playing!
Read, practice, sharpen your skills
Not just today, but for tomorrow, for the rest of this month, and for as long as it takes to master that technique.
And then do it some more …
Stick with a technique until you master it.
If someone tried to become a commercial pilot by reading books on flying without logging extensive flying hours, would you consider him / her a pilot by any measure?
You take it for granted that every commercial pilot has flown the same aircraft several times in some testing / training facility before flying a commercial airliner, right?
That’s why, fortunately for the rest of us, the folks who fly commercial planes spend extensive time in flight school, learning how to fly … until they have it down pat.
So don’t skim around your learning resources.
It’s great that you’re eager to learn. But learning without practicing and without making an extensive effort to develop a real-world skill is not going to help you!
This isn’t a game folks — this is business.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you a resume writer can somehow rewrite or put something on your resume that gets you hired.
And don’t think that heading back to college for a graduate degree or MBA will impress employers into hiring you.
My advice for you is: don’t go near that crowd!
Be one of the fortunate few and take the most direct approach. It brings the best results because it gives employers what they want.
#1: Become The Most Knowledgeable Person You Can Be
Your first job should be to learn everything that you can about your chosen career.
To start with, employers want you to be knowledgeable about your job.
They don’t want a shiny resume and they don’t want decorative college degrees. They want functional knowledge.
As a professional, the way to get functional knowledge is by doing some or all of this (the more the better):
- Read, follow, subscribe to blogs and leaders on your topics of interest.
- Buy and read books on your chosen career. You can never invest too much on textbooks.
- Take training or coaching to get ahead in your career. There are lots of dead-ends and you need to avoid them all!
Study using as many resources as you can afford.
This is a knowledge-based economy, so the best investment you can make is in yourself.
… it is really this simple
#2: Become Highly Skilled
Knowledge is different from skills. Skills are gained by taking lots of quizzes or practice tests.
Sharpening your skills by taking lots of practice tests achieves two (2) really powerful objectives:
- It gets you ready for the question & answer format of job interviews.
In a job interview, your interviewer wants you to be factual, detailed, comprehensive or prompt in answering questions.
The interviewer also wants you to demonstrate that you are highly knowledgeable / skilled in your subject.
- Practice Tests also sharpen your skills for the real-world and here is why:
When you rehearse the answers to a question and then commit it to your memory, you arm yourself with the ability to recall the solutions easily when faced with real-world problems … and managers just love that.
And that my friend is how you bridge the gap to becoming a highly skilled, highly marketable, successful professional
The ability to recall solutions easily will make you stand out on your job and it will give you a lot of confidence
The increased self-confidence comes from taking the time to study, practice and prepare for real-world, on the job challenges.
That my friend … is how to become a superstar professional.
So many people cheat themselves and short circuit the process by focusing on certifications or educational degrees, etc!
They miss the point completely!
Today’s world is highly competitive and employers are hiring for razor sharp, finely tuned / honed skills and not general skills.
#3: Gain Hands-on Experience
The last but not least is hands-on experience.
Employers rate hands-on experience above certifications or advanced college degrees.
Because in the Information Technology Industry, the mindset of employers is: “Your Past Performance Is The Best Predictor Of Your Future Performance“.
What this means is that the more real-world experience you have, the more attractive you are to employers.
The point is not to fuss about how you gain the experience (through coaching / mentoring, volunteering, on the job, etc.) but just to get it.
That is it my friend … The Secret Recipe for Success In A Nutshell.