Author: Brent Lemieux CPA
Like most things that are worth doing, building human capital requires a certain level of dedication and persistence. At Windward, we believe focusing on what you can control leads to a happier life and better outcomes over time.
What areas of personal development should you focus on and how should you go about them? 80,000 Hours says that three of the main “ingredients” for building career capital are skills, credentials, and connections.
80,000 Hours prescribes focusing on skills that will grow your future earnings potential, are learnable and transferable – meaning they will still be useful if you switch career paths. Some of the most important skills the site emphasizes are:
- Personal productivity – This is useful no matter your profession. Don’t forget to focus on effectiveness, as well as efficiency. Effectiveness is working on tasks that get you closer to your goals.
- Science and math – Skilled workers in the STEM fields are in high demand now and many economists forecast the demand to continue to grow. These skills are typically more difficult to develop and may require additional education for some. There are now many free online courses you can use if you are trying to make a career change into these fields.
- Management and leadership – These skills are important whether you are working for a large organization or starting your own business. These skills can be acquired by working as a manager for your company, leading a community project, or heading an event for a non-profit you are involved in.
- Communication skills – Being able to communicate your ideas and get along with others is essential. If you would like to become a better presenter, try joining a club like Toastmasters. For writing, you could take a course in professional communication or try starting your own blog.
Certain certifications in your field will likely lend additional credibility to your name. Also focus on accomplishments that not only look good on a resume, but provide you with valuable experience, as well.
A network can be built through your job, if it gives you the opportunity to meet a lot of people, or through your personal life, if not. Try finding groups in your community that share your interests, whatever they may be. There are quite a few books on the topic if you are interested in learning more.
Combine a steady dose of self-improvement with good saving habits and a long-term investment plan, and you will increase your earnings power throughout your career and your purchasing power in retirement.
Last week I discussed why building human capital was important in Part 1. In two weeks, I’ll walk you through how different aspects of your human capital are important to consider when making decisions for your financial portfolio.
Notes and References:
- 80,000 Hours is an organization dedicated to providing career advice to young people who would like to have a greater social impact with their careers. Much of their advice is useful to anyone no matter their goals, but it is worth noting that working at a job you feel makes a difference is a key component to job satisfaction. For more advice from them on how to choose a job you’ll love, click here.
- The “ingredients” (skills, credentials, connections) and “skills “ (personal productivity, science and math, management and leadership, communication) are part of lists in the article referenced. Some of the descriptions of these items are based on their research and ideas, but some are my own thoughts. “How and why to gain career capital” by 80,000 Hours, https://80000hours.org/articles/career-capital/ , CC:BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, legal disclaimer: https://80000hours.org/legal/
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