When you employer has a problem, you want to be the one with the solution. If your customer has an issue, you need to be the one to guide them through it. If you are connected to resolutions used in your job, you are important to the company.
The descriptions above show you what it means to be relevant in the workplace.
Staying relevant means you possess the tools needed for success. It means your company needs the skills and knowledge you have. It means you are attuned to customer demands, and you have skills that keep you from plateauing in your job.
You want to do what you can to avoid being fired. There are many reasons for being fired, from unethical conduct to having a poor personality. But one of the main reasons people lose their jobs is because they do not remain relevant.
To avoid this, there are many steps you can take to keep yourself relevant in the workplace.
Continue Your Education
Whether you currently have a high school diploma, bachelor’s or master’s degree, there is still more to learn. There is always more to learn.
Some reports state the continuation of learning is the most important thing a person can do to remain important in their field. Many employers will pay for you to continue your education. But even if they don’t, you should still make this a priority.
More education often means more pay, also. But what you gain in knowledge and skills is priceless and can never be taken away.
Even if you have the highest degree in your field, it’s important you find other ways to remain relevant, such as working with a mentor.
Get a Mentor
You look up to them, you admire them, and you can learn so much from them. They are mentors within your industry.
Choose a different mentor for every stage of your employment. When you have just been hired for a job, your mentor may be quite different than the mentor you have after 5 years working in the field.
You want to match your mentor with the skill levels you need to improve, from entry-level to master level. Eventually, you can become a mentor for someone else. As a mentor, you will gain skills needed to enhance your leadership abilities.
Become a Leader
Leadership skills are needed in the workplace, in every department and at every level. Learning to be a leader means seeing opportunities where you can contribute. As a leader, you should learn to evaluate the business and its environment and resolve problems.
You should develop your thinking skills, creativity and innovation. You must learn to manage change as well as people.
One way to develop your leadership skills is getting to know the various people and programs by challenging yourself to work within those groups.
Through challenges, you can grow, personally and professionally. One way to challenge yourself is to participate in someone else’s project. This does not mean leaving unfinished projects to work with others. But when you have extra time, lend a hand to another group.
You will find your skills can benefit other groups. More importantly, you will learn the skills of your co-workers that can benefit you. Take time to recognize the skills of others and appreciate them.
Taking advantage of professional development opportunities will keep you relevant at work. Professional development can come in many different formats. You can read books on the topic in which you are learning. You can attend in-service trainings. You may even choose to lead an in-service training to present information you learned.
Professional development also means attending conferences, feedback counseling, training seminars, shadow specialists, online courses, college courses, and even switching jobs with a co-worker. You may even wish to join professional associations within your field.
The most important thing is that you are expanding your knowledge and your network.
Expand Your Network
Networking is important both inside and outside of your organization. The more professionals you know and establish a relationship with, the more relevant you become. Your reputation can grow by meeting the right people and collaborating with them.
Expand your network by attending events where other professionals will be, such as open houses, banquets, community service activities and fundraisers.
Through networking, you can become known as the person to call regarding your field of employment. This might not be because you are the best of the best, but simply because you are the most well-known. Being well-known in your field builds your following, who would support your relevancy.
Keeping up-to-date with technology is a must for staying relevant in the workplace. You must be able to quickly learn and adapt any new technology. Although it can seem like as soon as you learn one program, another is introduced, you just must accept it and move forward.
There will be upgrades and advancements in media and how you present material to others in the office. No longer are the use of overhead projectors. Instead, there are smart boards, projectors to use with laptops and meetings that are held through skype or other online formats.
You must be able to transition into using each type of technology introduced in your company. Keeping on top of your technological skills will make you relevant in any career.
Make Your Relevance a Priority
The amount of effort you put into making yourself relevant is key. If you put in very little effort, you will not be as relevant. If you make becoming relevant a priority, you will shine.
This article if filled with just a few ideas on how to become more relevant. There are many additional ways to strengthen your relevancy. The one that may add the most value is continuing education. Fortunately, there are varied avenues you can take to reach a higher level of education.
Many colleges offer online and in-person opportunities for continuing your education, from certificate level trainings to master’s degrees. They have a program to meet your needs.