Posts Tagged ‘job skills’

The Portfolio Life and the New Economy

June 19, 2017

The economy is ever evolving. Each technological leap forward has demanded that workers respond with new skills and ways of solving problems. Career paths of the previous decades may no longer provide the same security that they used to, and the essential jobs of tomorrow may not yet exist. So how can you prepare and market your skills in an environment where certainty is a rare thing?

Keeping with the portfolio theme of last week’s Plano Public Library Job Center posting, we consider the idea of the “Portfolio Life” this week. Very simply, we are not our respective job titles; instead each of us possess a collection of skills, interests, abilities, and passions that make us capable of responding to the challenges of a job or career path.

Jeff Goins of Fast Company offers the three tips for developing a “portfolio” mentality and how this mode of thinking can help you respond to the new economy:

  • Plan for changes: Change is inevitable. Don’t bemoan it; embrace change and prepare yourself with well-rounded experiences.
  • Play like you work: Hobbies and leisure activities can provide practice spaces to explore new and skills and mindsets, while growing what you already know.
  • Never stop learning: The time will come when an old skill may not transfer to a new opportunity, so constantly fill your career toolbox with new knowledge, abilities, and ideas.

Ensure that you are always broadening and enriching your portfolio and stay a step ahead of change. Learn a new language or skill, take advantage of training opportunities at work, pursue a personal passion, volunteer in an unfamiliar career field for new perspectives, or explore how play and reflection on your unique experience can prepare you for inevitable change. Build your personal growth strategy around exploration of your strengths and opportunities. The resources available from the Plano Public Library can help drive your growth with:

What does the portfolio of your life say about your experiences, goals, and dreams – what could it say one, five, or ten years from today?

The Benefits of Volunteering

April 26, 2017

Often times the search for a new career seems like a full time job in itself, so why would volunteering your time be helpful? Alison Doyle at thebalance.com, Mariliza Karrera with careeraddict.com, and self-help site helpguide.org offer compelling reasons why volunteer activity can benefit your career outlook and search process.

  • Volunteering is an easy way to explore career fields and interests without long term commitments or an intense career pivot. You may love animals and have an interest in veterinary work, but be unaware of the sometimes messy requirements of the job. Volunteering your time with a local clinic can provide you with valuable perspective that will assist your decision making process.
  • Volunteering helps you establish connections within an organization or industry. Consider the previous example: working with the full-time staff of a veterinary clinic provides access to tacit knowledge, potential references, and access to opportunities that might otherwise be closed or unknown. Offering your time and effort helps establish social capital.
  • Volunteering provides access to new skills. You can gain firsthand experience with translatable best practices and skills, some of which could be applicable to your current skill set or career.
  • Volunteering provides resume continuity. Minimizing gaps in your work history shows potential employers that you have remained engaged in your career pursuits. A volunteer opportunity can be an excellent gap filler that also provides the above mentioned benefits.
  • Volunteering helps you stay busy. Sometimes the career search process can be daunting or even disheartening. Rather than wait for an email or phone call from a potential employer, engage your mind with new, enriching tasks that help reduce the stress of the waiting game.
  • Volunteering within a career is an excellent way to help others. Legal and medical professionals provide volunteer time in the form of pro-bono work, but you don’t have to be a lawyer or doctor to help others. We all possess knowledge and skills that can help others. Charities, civic organizations, and social services can all use your help, and in the process you can reap both personal and professional benefits.
  • Volunteering may be the “foot in the door” that leads to a long term career. There’s no guarantee that a future job in the cards, but you can make a positive impression while making real change at a firm or an organization.

Whether you have a job, are exploring a change in your career arc, or are currently searching, remember that volunteering is more than just giving your time; volunteering is an opportunity to explore, learn, connect, and grow.