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Nick Williams

Acuity Training


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8 tips to become a 21st century knowledge worker


In the 21st Century, the age old saying “knowledge is power” is as relevant as ever. Alongside jobs such as doctors, scientists and lawyers, who have been traditionally seen as knowledge workers, more and more people are finding themselves working in roles where their job is to think.

Lifelong learning

Gone are the days of learning finishing when you finish school. An increasing number of roles require degrees or industry specific qualifications, in order to demonstrate that you have the skills of a 21st Century knowledge worker,

Even once you find yourself in employment, the learning doesn’t stop, with on the job training helping you adapt to an ever changing job role, and prepare to move on up the career ladder.

In the 21st Century, the age old saying “knowledge is power” is as relevant as ever. 

Understand how to apply core concepts

Going on a training course where you are given knowledge and information about how to perform your job is no longer enough to make you a knowledge worker.

In order to become a 21st Century knowledge worker, you need to understand how to apply this information in any situation that arises, be it an everyday task, or a question that has never been asked before.

Pick an appropriate advisor or mentor

Although you are likely to find it easier as time goes on, learning how to apply these concepts is an ongoing process.

An advisor or mentor can be there for you to run ideas by and give you the confidence that you are applying your knowledge appropriately and making correct decisions. Ideally this person should be somebody from within your organisation, but does not work directly with you.

Gone are the days of learning finishing when you finish school.

Somebody who does, or has previously done, a similar role in another region or department within your organisation would be a good choice.

Follow the right people

No, that doesn’t mean stalking your boss (although spending some time shadowing a more experienced colleague can be invaluable), it means social media.

Back in the dark ages, we would have to wait for reports to be published on paper before we could read them.

Then along came email, and we could sign up to mailing lists where publishers will automatically send you a link to the latest version of their report online.

Social media takes this one step further, by making it even easier still to view and share content. Social media won’t deliver articles straight to your inbox, but finding the right person to follow can open you up to a world of content you didn’t even know existed.

Embrace your internal social media

There is no denying that social media has had huge implications on the way we interact with our friends and relatives.

More and more companies are adopting internal social media platforms, where as an employee, you are encouraged to post anything interesting you have come across that your colleagues may be interested in seeing.

By filling out the “ask me about” section of your profile, you may find people from completely different parts of your organisation coming to you with questions. 

Network in person

We’ve touched upon using social media in the workplace, but this doesn’t mean face to face networking is redundant.

Chance conversations, and the tips and knowledge that come with them are something that don’t tend to happen when networking online.

Talk to as many people as you can; you will soon find out who can help you, and who you can help.

Chance conversations, and the tips and knowledge that come with them are something that don’t tend to happen when networking online.

By sharing your knowledge with others, you will soon earn yourself a reputation as somebody with a good level of knowledge, and will not only be the person people come to with their problems, but also the one they come to with their opportunities.

Share your knowledge online

Your friends and family might not be interested in seeing your Facebook timeline littered with industry documents, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share your knowledge online.

Whether it is creating your own blog aimed at others working in your field, or offering advice on forums or other websites where people come looking for help, there are plenty of opportunities for you to share your knowledge with others.

By participating in the discussions that will inevitably arise, you will quickly find yourself broadening your own knowledge.

Participate in group projects

There are many projects out there that are too great for even the most capable amongst us to complete on their own.

Something like open source software is a great place to start, as these projects require people with knowledge of everything from coding through to languages and marketing.

As well as being an interesting way of expanding your knowledge base, they also provide a great talking point when it comes to discussing your interests and hobbies at a job interview.

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Nick Williams


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