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The successful never stop learning

Learning is a lifelong endeavor. I have almost collected a full alphabet of designations after my name; not because I particularly love being a student but rather because I know it is essential to refresh and update my knowledge so that it remains current in the face of both a business that constantly evolves and an economy that is ever changing. It is a truism that change is one of the few certainties in life. Viewing this in a positive way, the more open we are to change, the better equipped we are to adapt to changing work circumstances and new challenges.

By attaining professional designations, certifications and professional recognition, an individual is demonstrating a knowledge base that advertises their status as an achiever with the dedication to succeed in their industry. Having letters such as CPM, ARM and CAPS after their name on a business card is a clear statement of purpose. It advertises the person as having achieved industry standards by an external organization and been awarded with a recognized. It acts as a testimonial and gives credibility to the bearer.

In addition to industry designations, professional development can also take many other forms including: company sponsored training, online courses, webinars, and offerings from the local NAA Affiliate or IREM Chapter. Regardless of the source, it is essential to learn about your business every day and to take advantage of every industry related educational opportunity that is available. Learning from the experts is a shortcut to sharpening your skills.

It is true to say that the generation before us enjoyed much greater job security than we do. Many individuals could expect to stay with the same company throughout their careers and to work their way up in a steady career progression, often based predominantly on seniority. It was common practice for companies to operate a ‘Last in, First out’ policy when reducing headcount. This had advantages in providing job security, but it also constrained new thinking and new ideas.

For better or worse the concept of a ‘job for life’ with employment security and a structured career ladder typically no longer applies. Many employees will transition between several careers during their working lives. A commonly held belief indicates that an individual will change careers roughly five times during their lifetimes. With the pace of change it is easy to believe this. Ten years ago we had not heard of Facebook, iPods or Google and a large number of jobs currently being actively recruited for did not exist e.g. Search Engine Optimization Manager, Content Manager, Patient Advocate and Virtual Assistant.

From the perspective of many employers, ongoing training and continuous professional development are now essential to ensure that their business is up-to-date and retains a competitive edge. As an employee, your enthusiasm for seeking out professional development opportunities aligns yourself to that way of thinking and tells a prospective employer that you are dedicated to the property management sector and are open and willing to continually develop your skills.

Cultivating a love of learning and a willingness to apply it are two of the most effective behaviors you can adopt to drive your career forward. By learning new things every day you will help yourself to stay at the forefront of industry trends and technological advances. This will help keep your skills relevant and competitive – and do the same for your business.

If you stop learning, you will stop innovating and if you stop innovating, you will stop advancing. And in business, companies that stop progressing soon begin to stagnate. Even the best of organizations need to keep developing because the world around us continually changes and what is true for the world is also true for business.

Companies that are constantly developing will overtake their stationery counterparts. And what is true of companies is often true for the individual in the workplace. The majority of roles and industries are subject to change and the individual who decides to stop developing will be eventually be overtaken by those colleagues who have embraced their development. This is mainly a question of attitude and desiring to develop. Everyone can learn to improve how they do things. It just takes willingness.

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

You are so right! I feel that in our ever changing industry it is necessary to continue to educate yourself. Two years ago I completed my Lead Safe Renovator certification and I am currently a CPM Candidate and hope to complete this by June 2012. I have already started to think ahead on what my next education goal will be. You have to think ahead and get to ahead.

  Lori Doles
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As a property manager, I imagine one of your biggest annoyances is odor tenants leave behind for you to clean up.

  JJ Henry
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Emily! I love this--couldn't agree more. I have a rich desire to progress quickly in this field, and I feel that education can compensate for my lack of experience. For those that fear the cost of obtaining such credentials--seek the IREM Foundation. I was a two time recipient of two different scholarships and it made the investment cost much more digestible for someone that works at a small firm like me. The national clout that organizations such as the NAA and IREM have make their designations a must-have for anyone in the property management industry. I proudly display those letters after my name --it expresses my demonstrated professionalism and my seriousness in the industry. And, for a young professional like me, it also gives me some real credibility. Never stop learning! Next step, the CPM designation!

  Nathan Borne, ARM
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

It is true that we should always be learning new things and never closing ourselves off from an ever changing world for what is comfortable. It is that comfort zone that can really hurt us in the end. People do change careers often and for this reason alone we should all be learning. It is a good rule of thumb to learn something new everyday.   People change careers an average of five times during their lives so they need to know new tips so that they are ready for that change.

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