How career retooling prevents you from becoming the workplace Dodo (Earnspiration Report Issue 12)

DodoSocial, economical and technological change progresses at such a pace that before you know it, you can quickly find yourself being left behind.

Take marketing for example.  The 20th century marketing proposition was a fairly straightforward one-way conversation.  In essence, you did some segmentation, produced a piece of catchy advertising and repeated your message enough times to convince consumers to buy your product.

But as we know, consumers became very jaded to the thousands of marketing messages they received everyday and in order to stand out, modern businesses have had to completely rethink the way they communicate with their customers.

Nowadays marketers need to be fluent in things like big data, inbound marketing, predictive analytics, customer centricity, design thinking and much more.

Note: being fluent does not mean being an expert in each of these subjects (an impossible task), but it does mean understanding the different aspects sufficiently to formulate new and innovative ways of communicating with customers.

So just as factories must retool for newer and better products, so should we as professionals be prepared to keep pace of change in our industries and take the time to learn and train in new skills.

Here are five ways to keep your industry skills ahead of the curve:

Reading (and writing)

Being aware of new and changing trends is the first step; so find the specialist websites that best represent your industry, add them to your RSS feed and spend a couple of lunchtimes a week or your commuting time browsing through the latest updates.

Or take it one step further and begin to curate specialist articles on your LinkedIn page or blog.  For real enthusiasts, a great (but time consuming) way to learn is to to write in-depth articles about the trends and technologies you are reading about.

Formal training

Specialist courses both online and offline are another way to learn, but make sure you research them well before you commit your time and money, as it is important to ensure you’ll get the knowledge and qualifications that the market requires.

Learning shouldn’t be expensive and sites like Coursera provide free access to many different types of online course.

Experience opportunities

The best way to learn is to do and searching out opportunities at your place of work or through non-profit volunteering allows you to experiment and try out new skills in real world situations.

Sometimes a sideways career step within your organisation or a completely new job is needed in order to gain the work experience that you are looking for.

Seeking out developmental relationships with mentors

Mentors don’t always have to be more senior than you and could well be one of your peers, albeit in a different role.  By seeking out mentors, you’ll be able to tap their knowledge and experience to help you build your own career path.

You may also find a mentor within your organisation who will also act as a sponsor and proactively support you in getting the learning opportunities you need.

Building networks

Networking should always be standard business practice for anyone aspiring to build their career and the fact that a diverse and varied network will open your mind to new ideas, provide access to specific knowledge and help find learning opportunities just goes to reinforce this principle.

Retooling should be part of continuous improvement

Whilst committing to a learning course or a career move requires longer periods of time to implement and bed-in; tasks like reading, finding mentors and building networks can be done in smaller, incremental steps on a more continuous basis.

So start getting into the habit of finding ways to evolve your career and avoid becoming the workplace Dodo!

Top links and resources

Every week I scour the web for new interesting and inspiring articles and videos.  Here is the latest selection:


Unhappy with being “locked in”? here’s a strategy for building a new career path

Control your development

Leadership & management

How Karen Kaplan went from receptionist to CEO

Adapting to the digital future: the senior management challenge


How to get good at making money

Seth Godin – You cannot measure success with a bank balance (video)

Personal branding & online profile / platform

3 smart ways to attract recruiters to your LinkedIn profile

How to craft a talk that spreads your ideas


10 money-making tasks successful freelance writers do every day

Personal development

Is public speaking the secret to becoming a billionaire?

Business skills

Brainswarming: because brainstorming doesn’t work (video)

How to command a room without saying a word


The disruption myth

The jumping sneaker prices behind Nike’s boom times

Marketing & media

The (surprisingly profitable) rise of podcast networks

The Yahoo Directory — once the Internet’s most important search engine — is to close


Mobile Master: KakaoTalk creator becomes one of South Korea’s richest billionaires


How to make money from property – without owning a home

The village stocks

After Tesco shares take hammering … Are other FTSE 100 stalwarts at risk of a downward spiral?

Books to read

Peter Thiel’s Zero to One might be the best business book I’ve read


Image from: Puuikibeach

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