How to Maximize the Skill Development Resources Available to You


Know which one to pick when and why.

There are many skill development resources available for you to use - beyond a career skills assessment - to get further information and advice related to your career development.

You first need to know what each one is and how it will help you.


These skill development resources are further explained below.


Skill development resources - further explained

  • Your manager - should be your first point of contact in anything related to your career development. You should be asking for advice and feedback on your performance, competency and career development and future aspirations. If your manager is busy or does not have all the information then keep persisting in a nice way.
  • Your coach or mentor - is another great resource. If you have one then use them to coach you and guide you. Remember they may not have all the answers and may ask you to come up with some of them. Ask them for tips on career development, the good performers you can mirror and further contacts in the organization who can help and guide you. Coaches and mentors are particularly good if you want to discuss something sensitive that you do not feel comfortable discussing with your immediate manager. Just make sure there is mutual trust.
  • Position competencies - are valuable career development resources. They tell you what is expected of you in the position and guide you in your development. The department manager or the Human Resources staff should also be able to provide you with this.
  • Performance measurement tools and forms - often have job and competency related information and is a good resource. Ask for it from your manager, the manager of the new area or the Human Resources staff.
  • Career resource units and career coaches - are useful career development resources if they exist in your organization. You can talk to them about your situation and get advice on how best to go about your development. Sometimes these resources are also available on-line.
  • New manager - is particularly important if you are moving to a new job or changing your career to a new area of work. Make sure you get in touch with them way before you develop and implement your career plan. Tell them about your aspirations and ask for their advice, tips and assistance. Tell them about your unique skills and competencies and how you could add value to their area - get them interested in you!
  • Human Resources staff - can also provide advice and guidance. Although this may be more general it is always good to keep them in the loop and get their input on your plans. Ask for contacts such as subject matter experts or co-workers who can also give you further advice.
  • Job descriptions - are considered as important skill development resources. They tell you in more detail about the job and responsibilities, the entry level competencies required and also the competencies you will develop in that position. You can ask for this from the department manager or the Human Resources staff.
  • Subject matter experts and co-workers - know a lot about the area of work and it is worthwhile talking to them. Ask them to show you their work and explain to you what they do day to day. You can also get their advice on what you need to do to work in their area and the skills and competencies you need to develop. They may even suggest some useful career development techniques to include in your development plan.
  • Industry or professional member bodies - are external skill development resources and are set up to cater to the needs of their members from a particular profession or career. Their websites are very good and contain useful career information. You can contact them and ask for career advice. Many of them also run short courses and educational programs for their members. If you are not a member consider joining them - the fees for first time members or those from different professions are usually nominal. A very good resource.
  • Specialist recruitment companies - can also provide some advice if you are considering changing careers. Be aware that their income comes not from you but from the companies they recruit for so go in with that understanding. You could go to their website first to get a feel for how much they may be able to help you.
  • Department or company literature and website - are good skill development resources and some of them contain useful career related information. Take a look. They may also have some contacts for you to follow-up and get further advice.
  • Books and publications - often have a wealth of information related to particular jobs or careers. Ask your manager, subject matter experts and others if they can recommend certain books and publications that will be useful for you to read up on and get further information.



  • Which one to use when

    Now that you know some more about the skill development resources you now need to understand which one to use when.

    I have divided them into three broad categories depending on the type of career change you are considering.

    They are:

    • Further development in your present job
    • Moving to a new job in the same area of work
    • Making a career change to a new area of work

    There are some repeats across the categories as some of the resources are applicable to more that one type of career change.

    You can of course mix and match them to get the most out of the skill development resources.

    Further development in your present job

    • Your manager
    • Your coach or mentor
    • Position competencies
    • Performance measurement tools and forms
    • Career resource units and career coaches

    Moving to a new job in the same area of work

    • New manager
    • Your coach or mentor
    • Human Resources staff
    • Job descriptions
    • Position competencies
    • Performance measurement tools and forms
    • Career resource units and career coaches

    Making a career change to a new area of work

    • New manager
    • Your coach or mentor
    • Human Resources staff
    • Subject matter experts and co-workers
    • Job descriptions
    • Position competencies
    • Industry or professional member bodies
    • Specialist recruitment companies
    • Department or company literature and website
    • Career resource units and career coaches
    • Books and publications

    By now you should have a good understanding of the skill development resources available to you. Combine this knowledge with the different ways you can develop yourself to really maximize your career planning.




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