Why You Should be a Lifelong Learner

James has been an accountant for eight years with just one company. He believes this is proof of his reliability, company loyalty and dedication - admirable traits to have.

And James thinks he’s going to be here for the long-haul.

But James has just been made redundant.

All of a sudden, his long-term plan is up in the air.

But, he figures, with his track record, how hard could it be to side-step into a similar position at another company?

Unfortunately, James finds it nowhere near this easy. Employers look at his resume and feel like he has flatlined. They can’t see how he has expanded his horizons to develop any supplementary skills or demonstrated any kind of growth over the past few years.

When you look closely at yourself, do you feel like your career has stalled too?

Past performance is no longer everything

In the 1980s, employers focused heavily on performance as an indicator of who is right for a role. In fact, Claudio Fernandez-Araoz says the mantra was “the best predictor of future success is past success.” You might have been led to believe something similar.

But today, employers are looking for something different. Portability, self-awareness, determination and above all, lifelong learning are the traits at front of mind. These factors are not just what will get you hired now, but help you have a sustainable career, and see you able to find a new job whenever you need it.

Become a lifelong learner

According to a report by McKinsey & Company, between September 2009 and June 2012, there’s been a significant increase in the number of skill sets needed in the workforce: from 178 to 924.

Jobs are now more diverse, and employers favour those people whose skill sets span multiple industries.

If you want to stand out and stay employable long-term, a dedication to learning throughout your life will give you the best possible chance.

In his book The First 20 Hours, Josh Kaufman shows that a set process can help people become competent with a new skill in just under 20 hours.

According to Kaufman, the process is:

  1. Define what you want to learn
  2. Break down the skill into its basic components
  3. Identify the critical sub-skills involved in reaching your goal
  4. Eliminate any obstacles to practicing
  5. Commit to at least 20 hours of deliberate, focused practice

Want to find out more about becoming a lifelong learner so you can develop a sustainable career? Please reach out, or stay tuned for the release of my upcoming book.

 

 

Keyword: lifelong learner

 

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Greg Weiss is Australia’s leading career coach. He is the author of “So You Got The Job! WTF Is Next?”. The book prescribes a proven, practical 7-step guideline for new employees so they succeed, rather than fail their probation periods and beyond. Find out more about the book at https://www.wtfisnext.wtf
He is the Founder and Director of Onboff an online training and coaching platform that helps HR specialists, coaches and recruiters to deliver exceptional onboarding and offboarding experiences for employees.
He also hosts The Keep: The Employee Experience podcast and runs CareerSupport365.