Upgrading Job Skills

    “Upgrading Job Skills,” Ensign, Feb. 2005, 72–73

    Upgrading Job Skills

    Competition in many fields of employment, particularly technical ones, is fierce in today’s economy. Keeping current in any field may require additional study and learning. In my professional role as an employment specialist for the Church, I have helped others successfully use the following self-reliance plan to better secure their employment future.

    1. What do I want to do in my career? If you feel anxiety, depression, and damaging competitiveness in your current employment, you may need to examine whether you’re in the right job. If you are happy and enthusiastic about your work, you can consider what your next step should be to enhance your career in that field.

    2. What resources do I have? List your abilities, talents, skills, and education. Be sure to include your experience on this list, because training and education can’t replace good common sense, decision-making skills, people skills, and stability gained through experience.

    3. What steps do I need to take to obtain the career goals I have set? After writing down and prioritizing each step, share your goals with your family and ask for their support. Be especially careful to plan how you are going to provide for your family during any career transitions.

    4. What tools, information, and resources do I need to reach employment self-reliance? This is the kind of question that a Church welfare specialist over employment can help you answer. Here are a few suggestions:

    • Find a mentor in your own company. Ask a trusted, understanding superior for help in deciding how to upgrade your career. Find out if your company will help pay for educational expenses. In technical fields, brief certification courses often lead to improved career opportunities.

    • Ask for help within your ward or stake. Ward and stake employment specialists can provide useful resource lists. Members who work in the field you’ve chosen or in similar employment might be able to offer career counseling, educational and vocational training suggestions, and even one-on-one training.

    • Look for assistance in your community. Local educational institutions may offer courses that would be beneficial or would lead to a degree if that is needed. Some universities and colleges have excellent nontraditional accredited degree programs that offer credit for on-the-job or practical experience and require little or no time spent in classes. Internet sites or local libraries and bookstores offer catalogs that list accredited universities and colleges with nontraditional programs.

    • Check the Internet for training and educational opportunities in virtual classrooms. These courses are offered by a number of institutions, including Brigham Young University—Provo.

    This four-step self-reliance process, prayerfully applied, works because it is consistent with correct principles of temporal and spiritual welfare. Throughout the world, Church members in all types of jobs are using it to change their lives.

    Sharon Worlton, Woodridge First Ward, Naperville Illinois Stake