Up Skill – How To Take The Next Step In your Business Career
Contributed by: Fi Darby | Upskilled
For women in business, planning is a well-honed skill. Most of us are used to seeking out opportunities and taking calculated risks in our business lives but how many of us do the same for our careers? Careers for women in business are on the up. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 668,670 Australian women now work as small business operators.
There are ways to ensure you take your business career seriously. Whether you undertake an online business course, seek a direct approach to networking or take on more responsibility in your current role, you will be moving towards your future. We have some advice on how to take the next step in your business career.
Understand the importance of improvement
Life-long learning should never be underestimated. It can be formal, for example, undertaking an online business course, or informal, for example shadowing an experienced colleague. In order to flourish we need to experience both types of learning, below are some reasons why:
• The more you learn, the more you understand about yourself.
• Learning exposes us to a wider range of new experiences.
• Learning improves our resumes and can lead to higher incomes.
• All new skills, including study skills, are transferable.
• The world is changing at an unprecedented pace.
• Learning introduces us to new situations and new people.
• Learning (and recognising our learning) is great for our self-esteem.
Brainstorm your business career ideas
Brainstorming is not as popular a management technique as it once was but when we are considering our own business careers it can be difficult to think outside the ‘actual’ or the ‘today’. Brainstorming, if done properly gives us permission to consider the ‘impossible’ or the ‘adventurous’. An effective brainstorming session will:
• Use methods suited to your learning styles. For example, verbal discussions, mind mapping or the collection of inspirational images.
• Accept all initial ideas and save questioning, detailed consideration and ‘how to’ until later.
• Keep records of your session for at least a year.
Decide on a new career path (or not)
Forwarding your business career need not necessarily mean a complete career change but for many people, moving on is a way to stretch capabilities and prove themselves to the outside world. Upskilling is part of the natural process during and after a career path change but is sometimes also necessary to facilitate this change. Upskilling does happen in most roles, most of the time, but for this to be recognised it sometimes needs to take more formal or significant form. For example an online business course, responsibility for a specific project or a short-term secondment to a new role.
Develop new skills
As adult learners we have a different approach to learning than when we were younger. We tend to have a better appreciation of our learning processes and understand the importance of formal qualifications. What we maybe don’t appreciate as much as we should are the additional skills that we gain when we take on new roles and new challenges. For example, an online business course will not only result in a recognised qualification, it will also teach you perseverance, organisation and communication.
Consider your work/life balance
Before you commit yourself to a new career opportunity, look carefully at your chosen lifestyle and your home commitments. There are some opportunities, for example online study that offer the type of flexibility that many women in business require but there are others that, no matter how attractive they appear, will lead to the related stress of a difficult to juggle home life.
However you decide to advance your business career, it is important to remember that you are doing it for yourself, for your own pleasure, for your own satisfaction and for the opportunity to be able to say, ‘I did that!’
Fi Darby is a working mum, children’s author and freelance writer; she specialises in education and outdoor web content and covers a wide range of topics for international clients including Upskilled.