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The Two Types of Training You Need To Boost Your Career

  Written by John Boddington

I’m good with numbers. That’s not me boasting (you’ll see in just a short bit how aware of my limitations I am), just a statement of fact. Always have been.

So when starting a career in banking, career progression for the first five years came quickly. I was accurate, and quick, and it was easy to stand out.However, I then ended up being promoted because of those skills and looking good at the job, and ended up having to supervise and manage others. And I can say that in this respect, I wasn’t so good. Well, that’s a positive way to look at it. In reality, I had simply been promoted to a position beyond my capabilities. I was a great example of the Peter Principle, which states that “managers rise to the level of their incompetence” – in other words, they are promoted according to how good they are in their current job, and only stop when they reach a job they can’t do. You see it everywhere – it’s the result of people not upskilling for the next level. So you need to think ahead. In my case, my star was no longer shining, and advancements did not just slow down, they came to a halt. It seemed that I had reached a ceiling in my banking career.

Now, that happens to quite a lot of people. You get promoted to a point at which you are either now beyond your current abilities, or at their limits, and for a lot of people, that is where their career progression ends.

But it doesn’t have to be!

I can tell you how to make sure that it isn’t.

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Three Ways to Change

People start to look for ways to change, improve or enhance their career when they are frustrated. It's rare to meet anybody who is 100% happy in their job but still thinks that they should change something. That’s because frustration creates the desire to change. So inevitably, people look at what they can do to improve things.

a) One way to change is to blame problems on your current environment. You love the job that you do, just not where you do it, so look for the same job somewhere else.
b) The second way is when you are certain that you need to move UP. Moving UP usually means more money, so whether it’s at your current place of employment or elsewhere, you need a promotion.
c) And the third way is the most drastic of all, changing your career. For whatever reasons, you think that changing everything is required.

It depends on which of the three options you are considering, whether you need to upskill in one of two ways, or a combination of those two ways.

The Two Types of Training or Upskilling Yourself

1. Specific Job Skills

To illustrate this, let’s start with that third extreme example. I went from being a banker to wanting to become a computer programmer. Now, I knew nothing about computers or programming, so I needed to learn the specific job skills that a programmer requires. So I did a four month computer programming course.

2. Personal Skills

In addition to those specific job skills, my skills lie in numbers, and that is why I had been involved in banking and then trained as a programmer. But say I had wanted to become a doctor instead, I would be interacting with patients, and would need a good bedside manner. That means that I would need to improve my personal skills, or if you want to, call them soft skills or business skills, as well as the specific job skills.
For those people wanting to simply change companies, but stay in the same role, or those wanting to move UP, the focus moves to the soft skills side. Moving up will probably require you to be managing others, so do you have the interpersonal skills to manage, lead, and inspire those around you? Do you have the positivity, confidence and assertiveness that will to make a good impact on others? Do you present well? Do you interview well? These are all personal skills that you need.

Let’s come back to my own example. I was frustrated at the bank, and went for a radical change in career. Banking to programming. I had done the specific job skills part of the training, but was then really struggling to find work as a programmer. I was still missing those personal skills. So I ended up working abroad, trying to raise some capital, and was fortunate that the company that I worked for did invest in its staff. I learnt things like crowd control, presentation skills and more, and upon returning to South Africa, found it much easier to now find employment.

It required me to improve in both areas for me to really become marketable as an employee, particularly in areas of management and supervision.

I told you at the start that I could make sure you can break through a career ceiling. Based on what I have just told you, here are my three quick steps.

1. Decide what you want to do. Which of the three career options are you thinking of, from simple moving, to looking up, or complete change?
2. Decide on any job specific skills that you may require. These could be skills that will either give you an advantage over any competition, or simply provide parity, you need to look at both.
3. Decide on what personal skills you can improve in. How to best demonstrate those job specific skills that you have.

Once you have decided on these three steps, it now becomes possible to start considering other things. What resources do you require? For example, you may need both monetary resources and the time needed to do the training. These resources will determine what kind of training you can get, and in what kind of time frame. Can they be done simultaneously, or would that be biting off more than you can chew? These decisions can only get looked at once you have really decided on the main three.

Once you then have finished the training required, I guarantee that you will not have the same ceilings in place for your career any more. Your skills will mean that if you stay within the same industry, your ceiling will certainly have been raised, and if you changed career entirely, you may not have a ceiling at all anymore. You may look up, and the sky is your limit!

Want to Manage Your Time Better?

We have online courses with full 12-months' access.
RRP from $229 – limited time offer just $49


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