Career Development

Three strategies for career resilience - The best Christmas gift you can give yourself

By: Dale Simpson


So what is career resilience?  Amid changing industry trends and an increasingly competitive job market, it means staying relevant and a desirable employee, even as job roles and requirements evolve. This adaptability can be especially valuable during economic downturns, where job security may be uncertain. 


Here are our best three strategies for career resilience: 



1  Exploring online courses, certifications, and workshops



The rise of digital education has made it easier than ever to enhance your skills and qualifications. Online courses, certifications, and workshops offer flexible, convenient, and often affordable means to acquire new knowledge and stay updated with industry trends. These forms of education can significantly boost your employability and marketability.



Several online platforms offer a broad selection of courses tailored to professionals across various industries. Here are a few examples. 



Coursera provides a course on 'Project Management Principles and Practices' that can help professionals in any field better manage their projects and attain desired goals efficiently.



For those interested in expanding their digital marketing skills, 'Google Digital Garage' offers a free certification course on 'Online Marketing Fundamentals.'



Professionals looking to enhance their data analysis capabilities might consider the 'Introduction to Data Science in Python' course on edX.



LinkedIn Learning offers 'Excel Essential Training' that could be beneficial for professionals working in finance, sales, or any role requiring data management or analysis.



Udemy hosts 'The Complete Communication Skills Master Class for Life' to help professionals improve their communication, a key soft skill in any career.



The best course for you depends on your professional needs and career goals. Choosing one that aligns with your aspirations helps ensure maximum return on your time and monetary investment. We would also suggest checking the reputation of the institution offerring the accreditation - a course accredited by Stanford might be very different from one accredited by a smaller unknown or private university.



2   Relationship building events and memberships in professional organisations 


Christmas time offers unique networking opportunities. Many industries, companies, and professional organisations host holiday-themed events, where you can meet industry peers, potential mentors, and even employers. These events often involve relaxed, festive atmospheres, making them a perfect setting for casual yet meaningful conversations. Attending these functions helps you stay connected, grow your professional network, and may open doors for future career opportunities. So if you have been thinking to dodge these this year, perhaps reconsider.

At a recent Christmas function hosted by a leading tech company, one of our mid-career executive clients, Laura, had a serendipitous encounter with the CEO of an emerging fintech startup. Laura, who had been looking to transition into a more technology-driven role, struck up a conversation with the CEO about the startup's innovative approach to personal finance management. Impressed by Laura's insight, the CEO mentioned an upcoming vacancy in their company for a Strategy Director. Not only did this align perfectly with Laura's skill set and career aspirations, but it also offered an exciting opportunity to influence the fintech sector directly. You just never know where some extra Christmas spirit can take you.

Investing in becoming a member of a relevant professional organisation in your field is another excellent Christmas gift for yourself. These memberships often include access to exclusive online resources, industry publications, educational webinars, and members-only networking events. These associations often represent a variety of professions and industries, providing a platform for collaboration, discussion, and learning from individuals who share your professional interests.


Remember, networking isn't just about hunting for a job;  It's about establishing and nurturing relationships that can foster personal and career growth. This Christmas, consider investing in networking opportunities as a gift to your career. It's a present that can keep giving year after year.




3  Investing in a career coach or mentor



How could we not mention this one? A career coach or mentor can provide personalised guidance to help you navigate your career path. Career coaches can offer impartial objective advice, feedback, and insights drawn from their own experience, helping you avoid pitfalls and maximise your potential. 


This investment can greatly accelerate your career progression.


Many professionals for example want to transition into a leadership role within their organisation or take on a non-executive directorship: this may be you,  struggling to identify the skills you need to develop to reach this goal. A career coach can help you identify these essential skills, create an action plan to develop them, and provide constant feedback on your progress, discuss issues and problems as they arise, and strategise with you on ways to keep moving forward. They might suggest enrolling in specific leadership courses, recommend books on management theory, or offer insights on how to gain practical leadership experience within your current role. 

They can be a task master, a gentle nudger or a truth teller, depending on your individual needs as you work through this process. 



Consider, for example, a senior executive in a technology firm who aspires to transition into a board role, but is unsure of how to prepare for such a strategic position. A career coach with experience in board consultancy can provide valuable advice and direction. This might involve recommending governance training courses, introduciing  them to   current board members to gain insights into the experience of being on a board as well as the roles and responsibilities.

 A good coach may also advise  on how best to highlight transferable skills within their CV and demonstrate their readiness for a board position.  The one-on-one personalised approach to working through road-blocks, self sabotage and frustrations is truly valuable in a way that reading "how to's" online can't match.  Tailored advice and resounding unfiltered and supportive guidance greatly enhances the chances of a successful transition to the next stage of your career. 


Prioritising career development has long-term benefits. It makes you more adaptable to industry changes, improves your earning potential, and boosts your professional reputation. Moreover, continuous learning and development can lead to greater job satisfaction and a more fulfilling career.



I recently read a post on Twitter by a recruiter: 

Almost every applicant that makes it past the first round of interviews asks a version of the same question...

"Professional development is huge for me. What future development opportunities do you see available for this position?"

Killer question to ask in an interview.

What it says:

• I plan to grow

• Do you reward ambition?

• Want to benefit from my growth? Or will a different employer?

As the potential employer, it switches the internal narrative from "Is this person qualified to do the job well?" to "How can I convince this person to join our team?"


By investing in your career development, you signal to employers your commitment to self-improvement and staying at the forefront of your field. This can enhance your professional image, making you an asset to your organisation and a strong candidate for future career opportunities. 


The personal fulfillment derived from this continuous learning journey cannot be overstated. 


There is a deep sense of satisfaction that comes from mastering new skills, overcoming professional challenges, and realising your career goals. 


This, in itself, makes the investment in career development well worth it, beyond even the financial rewards.


Consider gifting yourself something truly useful and precious this year by trying any or all of our recommended career resilience strategies.


Stay safe and holiday wishes for a peaceful Christmas and a rewarding 2024 from all of us at Bravo Careers. 

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