In today’s competitive business world, any opportunity to set yourself apart from the crowd is a valuable advantage. In independent consulting, it can be the difference between getting the jobs and clients you want and struggling to prove you value to potential clients. Clients want to hire consultants who display knowledge, skills, and expertise not only in the basics of their professions, but also in the latest methods and developments, showing that they are current on modern and relevant techniques. Giving clients the impression that you are out of touch with what others in your field are doing may also give them the impression that your knowledge in your profession is limited. Below are three ways that you can help keep both your skills and knowledge current, and give yourself an important professional advantage.
1. Professional Development Courses
Continuing your education through professional development courses can be an excellent and effective way to keep your skills up to date. Through these courses you can learn about the latest techniques and developments in your field – as well as brush up on the nuances of more traditional concepts you may not have used in a while. Professional development courses are available in various formats from a number of providers, including online and offline classes through vendor-taught classes, traditional universities, and training institutions. The format that’s right for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences, as each offers different benefits, but they can all provide valuable and current insight and knowledge to keep your skills fresh.
2. Take Advantage of Online Resources
The vast amount of free information available on the Internet makes it a seemingly limitless source of informational and educational resources. Whether you’re seeking to learn more about the general field of business or independent consultancy, your specific industry, or even a niche area or skill of specialization, current and relevant information is available in various formats. Attending educational webinars offered by many professional service providers, including MBO Partners, often provides valuable insight. Following the blogs or social media accounts of industry experts can be another source from which you can expand and update your knowledge. When you discover valuable sources, such as industry news sites and online forums, you should bookmark them so that you can visit regularly for the latest information.
3. Attend Professional Events
Local companies, business associations, and professional groups often host events that can serve as opportunities to learn about developments and trends that keep you up to date in your industry. Whether these events are in the form of seminars and forums that provide direct insight from experts in your profession, or even networking events that give you the chance to meet, brainstorm, and share ideas with colleagues who can provide fresh insight or perspectives, attending these events can prove valuable to those who are looking to sharpen and freshen their skills and knowledge. Joining local professional groups can keep you informed about upcoming events in your area.
News and notes for independent workers and their clients. This is the September 26, 2016 edition.
As an independent consultant it's important to know what exactly soft skills are, why they matter, and how you can improve yours.