Lifelong learning: How to focus your energy on skills that count.

Study SkillsInformation professionals wear many hats. As our roles continue to evolve and diversify we are expected to take on new responsibilities that may fall outside of our traditional job descriptions. This requires learning new skills to ensure we are equipped to navigate changes in the job market. While professional development is important the array of new skills required to be an information professional can at times be dizzying. We are required to have exceptional information, digital and data literacy. To remain ahead of the curb technologically. To be educators, project managers, web developers, metadata specialists, digital marketers. The lists goes on.

We may be lifelong learners but we can’t spend a lifetime learning. There are only so many hours in the day. Rather than trying to learn everything all at once, it may be more important to be selective about the skills you invest in. By devoting your time and energy to one particular area you can make a real impact in your professional development. But how to know which skills to invest in?

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) offers a series of skills audit templates that can help emerging information professionals identify the skills they require to excel in a specific field. These include a data specialisation, government specialisation, health specialisation, research specialisation, and schools specialisation. Each template has a rubric that allows information professionals to assess their proficiency. A full list of the skills audit templates can be found here on the ALIA professional development resources page.

These templates may not be a silver bullet to the task of lifelong learning but they can point you in the right direction and make sure you are learning the skills that will get you noticed in that next job interview.

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