woman practicing piano

Rapid skill acquisition doesn’t come from complicated techniques or mental hacks, says Josh Kaufman, author of The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything . . . Fast!

If you are looking for a new job, you might need new skills. Here’s a formula for learning that could bring the next step in your career:

Immersion + Context + Teaching + Consistency = Expertise

Immersion: Dive In and Don’t Look Back. If you are in a situation where there is no turning back, you have no choice but to learn new skills & apply them.

  • Looking for a job in one area? Check out related jobs, internships, volunteer opportunities, etc.
  • Don’t let a failed interview throw you off your game. Bring what you’ve learned about that employer to your search. Learn what you can. Let the company know you’ve gained new skills. They might want to talk to you again once you’re an expert.
  • Reach out to everyone in this field that you can think of. What would they recommend you learn? You will walk away with valuable resources and trusted advisors!

Context: Refuse to Learn without Doing

  • Buy the most popular books on the subject. Take meticulous notes and fill notebook pages with what you learn.
  • Write down examples and create your own stories that demonstrate your learning and capability in that area.
  • Break down complex topics into graphs and drawings. Make a list of the most important buzzwords. Use them when reaching out to professionals and applying for positions.

Teaching: Share your Learning as Much as Possible. Simply relaying the information you’re taking in will cement this new knowledge and grow your credibility at the same time. Create a blog, an online course, a website on the topic. Comment on social media threads. Give a 30-minute Lunch and Learn presentation.

Consistency: Practice the 2-Day Rule.

Who do you think will be better, the one who practices piano for 15 minutes each day, or the one who practices once a month for eight hours? Never assume that you will have all the time in the world to learn a new skill.

  • Don’t leave your lessons for one big block of time, like a 10-hour study weekend.
  • Follow Tim Ferriss’s 2-day rule: never go two days without practicing your new skill. Practice every day in small increments.
  • Remember: consistency is key!

And that leads to our end goal: Expertise. Now that you’ve got it, let prospective employers know!


Beth Kelzer
Follow Beth at LinkedIn.com/in/marybkelzer

For the latest in personal branding, job and career-related updates please consider following us @CareerToolboxUS of join us on LinkedIn