What are you doing to improve yourself?

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If you were asked this common question at interview, ‘what have you done to improve yourself in the last twelve months’, would you be able to give a winning answer?   If you are not value adding to your qualifications, knowledge, skills and experience, you run the risk of getting left behind, especially in a competitive market.

Using your own initiative, have you undertaken additional training or upgraded qualifications recently?  Do you put your hand up for training when it is offered through your employer?  Time and personal budgets can be tight, so don’t underestimate the free options of volunteering or seeking out a mentor as commitments that may be well received at interview.

Your knowledge, skills and abilities … are they competitive?

question-mark-96285_640Wanting to work in a particular job or field?  How do you find out what’s needed and whether your qualifications, skills, qualities and abilities are competitive?

Try reading lots of job advertisements and position descriptions from a range of companies. Talk to others already working in your target field and then come back to yourself and evaluate your existing knowledge, skills and experience.

So how do you go about it? Search for, and read a variety of job advertisements from across the country for the job you want.  Don’t just read local advertisements, as they will only give you a limited view, and you need to know standard requirements for the industry.  Compare position descriptions, how do they differ, how are they the same, what are the common threads across each document?  Talk to people working in the industry, how does their knowledge and experience fit with your research, how did they go about getting their job?  Lastly, explore your own history.  What have you done?  What skills and experience have you gained?  What challenges have you encountered and what are your achievements?  What do you have to offer that the industry wants?

When you have done all those things, ask yourself how you measure up, what you need to do to enhance your chance of success in applying for jobs in your target field.