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I believe that you should make a map of hard and soft skills, then do a comparison with what the market is asking for. I also consider betting on new trends (being the first is a differentiator)
Good questions. You can usually find ways to practice management skills in everyday life, not just in the office.
if you don't have management opportunities or activities in your full-time role, look at a volunteer opportunity after working hours with a charitable organization or not-for-profit. They are usually very eager to have folks demonstrate leadership on key events...
Yes, you are right, its always useful and recommended to keep honing your skills so you are upto date. Inorder to do the same, you first acquire skills from your current job, if not, you can volunteer for PMI activities, events, chapters etc. Read related blog posts. Listen to podcasts, read books, mentor others on the same. They are all very useful to keep yourself up to date.
Like Kiron, I find volunteer organizations more than happy to have you practice your project management skills for them.
The bonus is that you can then add that experience to your résumé.
According to me, the best way to maintain your skills is doing freelance projects or volunteering in your free time.
If you have time, volunteer work for a charity that could use your expertise is an ideal way to keep your skills honed while doing someone some additional good.
I have found the best way for me to keep my skills sharp is to teach others. You will gain a greater apparition of what you know and what you don't know.
Found PM Challenge Q&A Series quiet intuitive to keep Learning Curve remain high in additions to project assignments.
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