Recognize where you are and where you want to go. Now go.
This is a guest post by Ibro Palic. If you’d also like to guest post here on JobMob, follow these guest post guidelines.
In today's economic climate, two of the most important attributes a person can have are focus and the ability to adapt.
There are so many resources at our fingertips today that it is easy to learn and add more skills to your toolkit.
Open access to self-education makes it possible to keep your skills upgraded and, indeed, learn a completely new skill set in a very short period of time. Oddly, many people do not take advantage of the great educational opportunities that are available online.
Problems arise in both perception and perseverance. Internet users may see the available opportunities advertised, but they simply don’t understand how valuable they are. In truth, probably half of the people who see online ads for educational opportunities don't give them a second thought.
Of those who do pursue these opportunities and actually begin the courses or other materials offered, two-thirds will drop out very quickly. Of the remaining third, most will quit as soon as a challenge or other obligation appears.
In reality, only about five percent of the people who ever see ads for great, online educational opportunities ever stick it out to the end of the course and make good use of the information provided.
Why Don’t More People Take Advantage Of Educational Opportunities Online?
This is really baffling because in the old days, the ability to take courses, learn and improve yourself was really prized and difficult to attain. Being able to take training courses in job skills to improve your personal marketability is a tremendous opportunity.
Being able to do it for FREE is amazing.
While the cost of going to a university or college has become unattainable for many, the fact is most of these institutions have made a great deal of their curriculum available online for free. Additionally, specific online education sites such as coursera.org, Code.org, Udemy.com and Codecademy.com offer free or affordable courses in Internet-related subjects such as app development and web design.
If you are seeking knowledge for the purpose of self-enrichment, self-improvement and the ability to increase your earning power, there is (and has been) no time like the present! Opportunities are available for the taking. You just have to seek, find and act.
How Can You Get The Most Benefit From Opportunities For Online Learning?
Much like television, the Internet is a fabulous resource that can be used for the purposes of “good or evil”. You can make proactive choices to spend your time improving yourself and your skills with educational offerings, or you can squander your life sharing pictures of cats, arguing with strangers on Facebook and playing Candy Crush.
If you'd rather use your time wisely and make the most of your life, there are a few specific steps you can take. First of all, you'll need to establish some goals and objectives. If you want to get anywhere, you must identify your destination.
Where do you want to be next week, month, year, decade and into the foreseeable future?
Below, I present a list of questions and challenges, along with a simple method I used that will help you organize your assets and identify your needs.
It's best to work with these ‘old school style' rather than on your computer. The physical activity will resonate with your memory more deeply, and you will end up with a tangible reference tool. Get yourself a pad of paper, a big piece of paper, poster board or white board and a writing instrument (something erasable is preferable) and begin.
STEP I: Identify what you want
In the middle of your paper, poster board or white board, draw a small circle. You'll want to leave a lot of space around it so that you'll have room to work.
With currently marketable skills in mind, think about some goals that you would really like to attain in the next few years.
Envision the future you want to have. Include specifics such as where you want to live and work. For me it was the ability to become location-independent. I did not want to be tied to a city because of income reasons.
Consider the following if you are having trouble:
- Do you want to have a great job, or do you want to work independently?
- If you could not fail what would you do?
- Do you want to work full-time, or do you want to have a flexible schedule that you can control?
- Who do you see as being your future workmates and associates?
Jot this down on your pad of paper.
STEP II: Segment Your Goals
Once you have your goals and desires firmly in mind, you will need a segment for each of your goals and desires. This exercise gives you a tangible and visible touchstone to help you keep your destination in mind.
Identify the steps you will need to take to arrive at your destination. Examine your goals and desires carefully. You will write the steps you will need to take or the things (education, location, equipment, etc.) you will need to have to attain each one. Be sure to include all the steps/things you will need. There should be a minimum of five entries in each segment. These are your objectives for the next few months.
Here’s an example:
Say you want to become a Database Administrator. This is your major goal. Here are some possible objectives you‘ll need to pursue:
- Learn about database modeling, relational database, and database terminology.
- Learn Excel, Access, SQL, VB Script
- Browse LinkedIn profiles of Database Administrators, write down if the skills they have, and try to find a commonality in terms of entry-level jobs these people had
- Redesign your resume focusing on that entry-level role and update it as you learn new skills
- Spend every day at least one to two hours a day on a skill and refer to your diagram for guidance
By breaking your major goal down into objectives like those above will help you clearly envision what you will need to have and/or do in order to enter and succeed in any field really.
Study your skills in a clear-headed and realistic manner and identify the steps you'll need to take to improve upon them and add to them in order to reach success.
Don’t be intimidated to learn new technical skills. I learned SQL (structured query language) simply by buying a book named “Head First SQL”. Each day I would read a few pages, follow along with examples and create my own projects at the end of each chapter. It didn’t cost me a fortune and I did not have to go to school for it. I spent 10 dollars on Amazon to buy the book.
Having identified your current position and assets, you now have a realistic starting point.
At this point, you have completed the poster or whiteboard part of your project. This exercise will act as a visual reminder of where you stand and where you wish to be. You will consult it on a regular basis moving forward.
Tape your goals on your bathroom mirror, on your steering wheel, door to your bedroom. Any place where you will constantly be reminded of your promise to yourself.
Persistence Will Prevail!
The most important thing is to keep plugging away at it. Of course, ideally you will achieve all of the objectives on your lists every day. If you don't, be careful not to throw your hands in the air and give up in despair. Just move that tardy item onto your list for the next day and keep after it.
Having said that, it is also important to remember that rest is an essential part of the path to success. If you get burned out, you will accomplish less. Be sure to also include a little rest and relaxation on your lists.
As a recruiter, it wasn’t uncommon for me to offer 30 to 40 dollars per hour to administrative assistants who were proficient in SQL or knew Excel really well. These are skills that with enough dedication anybody can master.
Maintain a Realistic Timeline
Remember that at the outset, I said that you should make your circle chart using an erasable writing implement. There's a good reason for this. When you begin taking steps to fill out your abilities and assets so that you can accomplish your goals, you are bound to run into variables.
A course may take longer than you realized. You may identify another course or skill that you didn't know about previously and so on. You want to have a fairly well established timeline, but it should not be so rigid that it limits your options and your ability to make the most of your opportunities.
When new opportunities arise, study your chart carefully and make adjustments in terms of the time you have allotted. Of course, you should not use this as an excuse to dither around and procrastinate, but you should also not chain yourself to your chart in a way that limits you.
Success at Last!
When you have followed the steps necessary to:
- Identify your goals and desires.
- Establish the route to your goals and desires.
- Identify what you need to add to your skills and assets to manifest your goals and desires.
- Prioritize and steadfastly obtain the skills and assets you need for success.
- Maintain a reasonable and realistic timeline.
- Make adjustments as needed.
- The feeling you get when you are proud of your achievement and a skill that nobody can take away from you. (software developers maybe)
Thanks to the Internet, jobs in information technology are becoming more and more available every day. This is a real advantage for people facing an unreliable job market without much experience to show for it.
Smart use of online educational and earning opportunities can help you chart your own course in life. Smart, realistic use of genuine online educational opportunities that help you hone your technical skills will help you beat the system of dead-end jobs and live the life you truly deserve.
About the Author
Ibro Palic is an entrepreneur, Internet marketer and former recruiter. Currently he heads http://resumetemplatesformac.com, a blog dedicated to helping job seekers find employment. Feel free to connect on Google+ or follow him on twitter @Ibro_Palic
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