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To educate oneself is to empower oneself. Whether it is in our careers or our daily lives, we have all embarked on a journey of continuous learning in one way or another.
But in a world filled to the brim with information, how do we do that? How can we make sure we are always properly updated, even with fake news around every corner? How can we leverage the information we learn to help with our careers?
Start with the right mindset
Information is at our fingertips, but that shouldn't mean we believe the first thing we read, especially if it's shared on social media. We shouldn't be too hasty to form our opinion on the first text we receive on WhatsApp.
If you've heard or seen any news or information that you're unsure about, do a quick fact-check to confirm its validity. Make sure to use credible sources when doing this. While the internet is a great tool, you can find almost anything on it, even articles that tell you the earth is flat or that the coronavirus doesn't like salt and turmeric. So, be wary when you're doing your research and make sure to stick to credible sources.
Use credible sources
First of all, what are credible sources? Credible sources are places you can get your facts checked and weed out fake news. These include government websites, news portals and established sources such as academic journals. What makes them relatively more credible is that they are held accountable for the information they publish.
So, why is it important to use credible sources? Fake news and false information can be damaging on several levels. On a personal level, it shows that we are not well-informed and this can affect our reputation. On a societal level, it can have detrimental effects on others. If we did not do our research and believed every piece of information we come across, we may end up making the wrong decisions in our lives.
Educating yourself in your career
Now that we know how to educate ourselves, how can we apply this to our career? It may seem daunting, but you can start by keeping yourself updated with industry happenings. Besides the sources we mentioned earlier, you can also use professional bodies as a point of reference. Start by identifying your role and the industry your organisation is in.
As an example, if you are a finance professional who works in a manufacturing company during the COVID-19 crisis, you can keep yourself updated by reading news on both the finance and manufacturing industries and getting updates from relevant associations. This will give you a broader perspective of how the crisis could affect you.
How does this apply if I'm going through a career change?
Whether you're changing jobs or changing career paths entirely, educating yourself is important, especially if you're concerned about job security.
Start by reading up on your potential employer. Understand their history, management, core values and governance. Do not take things for granted and make assumptions, even if you are joining a large multinational firm.
We are living in an era of connectivity, so use that to your advantage. Before joining a new company, you can connect with professionals from the company or industry and learn more about their experience. You can even connect with recruiters to find out more and seek their expert advice. Make sure to do your due diligence before making any decisions.
Remember, the resources are there, but what matters is how we use them. By educating yourself, you are empowering yourself.
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