Employers place great value on talent who drive their own learning agenda.
Given that new technologies are continuously changing the way industries operate, companies need to do more than invest in the training of their existing workforce to stay on top of emerging trends. They need to hire in talent with an ‘always learning’ mindset.
It’s tricky stuff. On the one hand, for the employee it’s certainly cheaper for your employer to pay for your training and education but on the other, employers often look to their go-getters to act as bellwethers of what skills are needed in their sector.
Our research involving a survey of 951 employers found 77% are more likely to shortlist a qualified candidate who upskills regularly. Staying at your learning edge also makes you a more likely prospect for promotion too.
Every working day Hays consultants are in the field talking to employers across a very wide range of industries. While the technical skills in demand may differ, the message around the constant learner is pretty universal.
Hiring in talent who can provide knowledge leadership to the company is seen by employers as crucial to staying competitive in their space. Besides, knowledge is power. Gain the knowledge needed to keep your organisation or potential employer competitive and you also gain power. That doesn’t mean you can’t rely on an employer to pay for anything but it’s one of those ‘chicken-egg’ situations – companies are more likely to back an employee who demonstrates how they already back themselves. Being proactive about upskilling is a clear demonstration that you do indeed back yourself.
However, gaining relevant knowledge is only half of the challenge. The other half is promoting what you know and building a personal brand as a constant learner.
Here are 4 ways to show potential employers you’re a constant learner.
It’s a good idea to keep your CV up-to-date, even when you’re not actively looking for a new role. This means you’re always ready for a new opportunity when it comes along.
Adding short and longer courses – even learning seminars and events – to your CV demonstrates you are indeed a constant learner.
Be succinct but provide enough detail for an employer to understand the value of what you’ve learned – what you studied, when and who with as well as the skills acquired.
If you haven’t already done so, consider creating a “professional profile” at the top of your CV. This is just a few sentences highlighting the experience you’ve acquired both through work and study that directly relate to a job you’re applying for. It’s a great way to catch the eye of a hiring manager or recruitment consultant as it succinctly links everything you have to offer to the job you’re applying for.
Remember that employers value proof, so bring your learning to life by adding one or two quantifiable examples of how newly acquired knowledge led to successes at work. For instance, if you’ve completed a presentation skills course mention how many successful presentations you’ve given since and the value of the client contracts you’ve won as a result.
Freshening your LinkedIn profile with information about what you have studied and any qualification you’ve gained is a must.
Use the right keywords to describe the certification or study you’ve undertaken to ensure your profile comes up in a search by a hiring manager or recruiter looking for a candidate with your knowledge set.
Similar to your CV, your profile will tell the reader you have a record of learning (provided you do of course) and back any claims you make about being “proactive”, “professional” or a “knowledge leader” in your field.
Remember to include courses taken and even any industry seminars you’ve attended through a professional or industry association. It all adds up to boosting your profile as a constant learner able to bring extra value to any employer you join.
Align your social media presence with your constant learner personal brand.
Post about a course or learning event you attended or completed. Consider including quotes and learnings from one-off events and related meet ups too via twitter posts, LinkedIn or other social media. Posting to an industry blog or the social profiles of an industry leader is another way to demonstrate what you’ve learnt.
Write short reviews about the courses you’ve completed picking out the highlights as they relate to your job role and or sector.
Also, quote the leading thinkers in your field but add value where you can. What are the implications for your sector of a new idea or technology? How do you recommend your peers apply the latest thinking or knowledge in their own work?
Be sure and add the appropriate hash tags but don’t overdo it. This is not about showing off but showcasing how the knowledge you’re gaining helps those aspiring to a role like yours or already in a similar role.
Writing about how what you’ve learnt has shaped your thinking on how to approach your role is a great way to showcase what you have to offer a potential employer.
Of course, for this to help you, not hurt you, you need to do a good job. Ask a friend or mentor to proof read your essay to ensure your thoughts flow cohesively and that there are no typos or grammatical errors.
Also, it’s vital you attribute any quotes or thinking to their original source. Nothing will sink your personal brand faster – not to mention your chances of landing a new job or promotion – than stealing someone else’s ideas or plagiarising another person’s work.
If you get all that right, a bonus is the essay also shows off your written communication skills.
Writing about what you’re learning and how it relates to boosting your industry is also a great way to retain the knowledge you’ve acquired. Besides, if you want to build a reputation as a knowledge leader in your sector, you can’t keep what you’re learning to yourself.
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