Honing Your Craft
One of the most difficult parts of career development is figuring out what you would like to do for a living. Some people know what they would like to do from the very beginning, but others may take longer to determine what they want to do. If you have taken the path that I took while going through school, you probably had a vague idea of something that sounds appealing, only for you to realize it’s not what you are good at, or not exactly the type of thing you want to be doing in the end. There may be elements of this job that are ultimately appealing, and you can use those items to determine what it is you would really like to do.
The reason I start with this is because it is always preferable to be learning something that you ultimately believe you’re going to stick with. There’s nothing wrong with learning something for the sake of learning it as you may find it useful down the road, but it definitely helps to get you on your feet quicker by gaining your practical knowledge first.
Great! Now that we have a good idea of what we want to do, we can focus in on gaining knowledge in our chosen field. How? Well, that’s different for everyone.
The best way to gain knowledge about your field is to perform tasks that you expect to find in the job you want. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need a job in the field to do so, although I admit that it may be difficult to perform some jobs without the expensive tools or specific environments required. For most professions however, you could probably find some way to practice your craft in some way or another. In my experience, I wanted to become a writer, so I started writing every single day and looked for new ways that I could add to my portfolio. See if there are ways that you can gain experience in your field without having a job, as those are the ways that you can stand out in a crowd of people who haven’t earned job experience yet.
Like I said earlier, maybe it’s difficult to practice your craft, or you don’t know where to start. My best suggestion to you would be to network! Reach out to people in your desired position and see what they did to get to where they are today. Don’t just ask one person! Connect with as many people as you can to see if there is a pattern of things that come up. If there is, see if you can also pursue this option. There is no shame in following someone else’s path if that is the proven path to success. Use the old adage: “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”
While you’re talking and making connections, you may also find that they might have something that you can do for them that helps you towards your goal. When I met Luki at FOCUS Inspired, he understood the plight of no experience and offered to let me write for his site. I have been grateful for that experience and have been doing so ever since. See if you can find someone who can give you the same opportunity to practice in your field, these opportunities could be worth their weight in gold!
Finally, even if you are in a job, it’s important to never stop learning! Always be looking for new and better ways to improve yourself, whether you are doing more on the job or asking questions to your colleagues, or even taking online courses that expand your general knowledge. If you are shown to be knowledgeable, naturally curious, and always growing to be better at your job, employers will usually take notice and reward you for your efforts.
It’s important to remember that honing your craft never stops. There is no such thing as an ultimate expert who has all there is to know about a particular subject, there is always something new for you to learn and explore. Be curious, strive for excellence, and success will follow.Follow: