As a child, many of us are excited to be done with school. However, as we grow older, we come to realize the importance of learning. Even after you’ve completed your formal education, it’s important to gain new skills and knowledge to continue to grow. In fact, it’s one of the most surefire ways to advance in your career.
Learning “should be a lifelong pursuit,” says Tom Haughton, vice president of Winnipeg’s My Place Realty. Professional training opportunities, he says, have let him “build upon my capabilities and talents.”
However, the majority of people don’t have the time or money to go back to school to get another degree. Luckily, there are other ways to learn and grow in your career that don’t require as much commitment or cash.
Attend Local Industry Events
Meeting with and learning from others in your industry and city can show you that you’re not alone in your search for knowledge. Sign up for local meet-ups, panels, lectures, or seminars to not only gain insight into your work, but also network with professionals who could really help you. You’ll realize that everyone has the same questions and problems that you do!
Hit the Library
There’s nothing like some good old-fashioned reading to help you reach your learning goals. Whether you want to learn a new computer program or enhance your management skills, head to the library or bookstore to find a wide range of book choices. Ask your mentor or manager for suggestions if you don’t know where to start.
Subscribe to Newsletters
Sign up for email newsletters from leaders in your industry. This can be professional organizations, large companies, or bloggers you admire. You’ll stay up-to-date with the latest trends and news and will definitely learn something new every week. Choose 3 to 5 unique newsletters that offer different angles or perspectives. The best part? It’s free!
Enroll in a Course
College courses aren’t just for young adults. Check out the professional development and lifelong learning options at your local university or college. Or, search for online courses in your field. A more traditional learning setting is perfect for those who want to be taught a new skill by an expert. If your employer offers tuition reimbursement, you’ll get all the benefits of going back to school without the added cost or time commitment.
“The most important thing a person can learn is how to learn,” says Justin Kulla, founder and CEO of BusinessBlocks, “and it’s hard because you have to pick the subject you want to learn and teach yourself.” While knowing what skills and knowledge to focus on with your lifelong learning can be tough at times, whatever you choose will be worth it. Showing initiative to better yourself looks great to your boss and makes you more marketable should you choose to move jobs.