Charlotte Sibley was named an Insights Professional Certification (IPC) Laureate in 2020.

Recruiters and employers say that “learning agility” is one of the key attributes they look for today in hiring a candidate. Why? Change is a constant now. Change is good — if you go first!

Change is usually better for the changer — not always so great for the changee. And the pace of change is accelerating. You have undoubtedly heard the comment that today’s 5-year-olds will have jobs that do not exist today — and likely, several of them.

So how do you prepare for change?
Keep learning. 

But how do you do that with a fulltime job, family responsibilities? Adult learning is different: 70% comes from job-related experience, especially challenging assignments; 20% comes from relationships with colleagues, and only10% derives from formal courses and training.

For the 90% of learning you will be doing on the job, keep asking good, open questions, like:

“Why?”
“Why is that?”
“How?”
“How does that happen?” 

And then listen – really listen – to the answers. As Deidre Connelly, former President of GSK said, “Be a student of your function, your company, and your industry". And I would add, “and the world around you”. 

Read newspapers in print or online – and from all sides of the political, economic, and global spectrum. Don’t listen to just one voice. Read articles and industry journals. Attend industry conferences and meet colleagues in different sectors. Use your networks to identify people with whom you would like to have informational conversations – usually 20-30 minutes, to find out more about the person’s role, career trajectory. The secret is to keep the time limited and ask open-ended questions (how did you get to this position/ what do you wish you had known?) and ask for suggestions.  People love to talk about themselves, and usually, love giving advice!

For the 10% of learning that is formalized training—make it count! Choose accredited courses, or courses recommended by colleague Online courses allow you to participate however best for your schedule. Yes, there may be a “test" – but that helps us focus and finish the course, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be a source of anxiety like the SAT. You have your job-related knowledge as a foundation and can usually figure out the bits we have to work harder on.

Taking specific courses or obtaining an additional degree may provide certification, higher pay, a possible promotion – you never know the benefits you will get. At the very least, tell your boss and HR! Most bosses are impressed with an employee’s desire, persistence, and organizational ability to take courses and study in their “off” time…and you may well be reimbursed.

So, keep learning!

If you are a continuous learner and would like to learn more about how IA’s IPC program can distinguish your quest for knowledge and give your career a boost, please visit the IPC info page or contact us directly!