Invest in personal career development

Tuesday February 20 2018

Individual reading is one of the ways

Individual reading is one of the ways professionals can develop their careers. NET PHOTO  

By Desire Mbabaali

Famous American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “Formal education earns you a living but self-education makes you a fortune.” Martin Muhumuza, a food and nutritionist specialist, says he has come to agree with Rohn’s statement overtime especially regarding personal career development.

“I used to have self pity – all the time because I could not afford to further my education. However, after having a professional dialogue with a friend – who is currently, my mentor, I learned that I could actually invest in my career development in a different way,” Muhumuza reveals.

He then started his personal career development journey by getting a career coach. “The reason I did was because I did not know from where to start. I did not know what I needed to further my career though I knew that at the time, I was stuck and not moving ahead,” he says.

Overtime, things started taking shape for him and before long, he started realising with guidance what career blunders he had made, and some of the things he would do to get himself out of the pit.
Gertrude Murungi, a career guidance counsellor, says having an open mind to learning regardless of one’s experience is key in personal career development. “You can learn from anyone at any level of their careers.

You just have to be positive and humble enough to learn. Being open to learning new skills even outside your field is a good way of expanding one’s career horizons. You maybe shocked at when those skills might come in handy,” Murungi says.

Furthermore, Samuel Bakutana, a consultant at Inspired Leaders International, notes that it is high time people realised that it is no longer just about the degree you have but about what you can deliver, what value you can add and which positive difference you can make – to employers. “It is not about the most marketable course, but instead, the individual that markets whichever course they have through their own abilities and capacity to deliver competent results,” he says.

He adds that professionals need to be careful about the “another degree syndrome” and seek real personal career development. “This means taking personal initiative to learn the things that matter most to us and in our careers,” says Bakutana.

Some practical tips
Murungi, says one needs to look at the knowledge they need or lack – and find which book to buy and read to acquire it. “Find out which information you need and thus which seminar, training, workshop, conference, industrial training you need to pay for,” she says.

Bakutana concludes that: “The task is in identifying your specific needs and then find the relevant option from a sea of many possibilities. At times, seeking the professional services of a coach and consultant could be the only missing link between your situation today and your dream tomorrow.”

• Look at your skills gap and then look for which practical short course you can invest in to acquire the skills, or identify your performance challenges and then go and pay the right career coach to help you improve.
• Anticipate tomorrow’s essential needs for your job, work, career, and enroll for an online course for example, that can equip you in advance.
• Realise the direction you want to take your life to and find a mentor who has been there before you and willing to walk with you for months or years – be an apprentice in one way or another.