Val Matta, Vice President of Business Development at CareerShift
Regardless of the type of profession you’re in, the technology, tools, and strategies you use in the workplace are constantly evolving.
Because of these rapid changes, employers desire candidates with a competitive edge. They expect candidates to be up-to-date with their skills, knowledgeable in the latest industry trends, and adaptable to any situation.
So you’re probably wondering, how does one gain this competitive advantage?
Continuous learning is a great way for ambitious job seekers to get an edge on their career.
Skills development is an essential part of any person’s professional development, therefore you need to be proactive in gaining new knowledge. This will allow you to outsmart other job seekers in your industry and get noticed by employers.
If you’re ready to gain a competitive advantage in your career, here are five ways you can use continuous learning to give you the boost you need:
1. Keep up on your reading.
Reading articles, industry trade journals, magazines, and books are a great way to keep yourself up-to-date and knowledgeable in your industry. You can also read industry blogs which will provide you with unique insight and advice about the industry in which you work.
2. Write an article, paper, or book.
Although writing isn’t for everyone, it can give you a huge boost in your career. In fact, 83 percent of employers desire candidates with strong communication skills.
Whether writing is your forte or not, challenge yourself to write an article, blog, or even a book related to your industry. You can write about the skills you’ve gained, work experiences, and career advice you have for professionals in your industry. Not only is this a great way to improve your writing skills, but you’ll also position yourself as an expert in your field.
3. Take new classes.
Sometimes, we need to take a class or two to freshen up our skills. Classes allow job seekers to ensure their skills are up-to-date and that they’re staying on top of the latest trends in their field.
Consider enrolling in an online class or take a class at a local university or college. If these classes are a little pricey, there are also a number of resources online where you can enroll in free classes. For example, Udemy and Stanford Online provide free classes that allow you to learn new skills in your field.
4. Make more in-person connections.
Another great way to keep your skills fresh is to learn from other people. Make the effort to meet your mentors for coffee or even attend industry conferences. This will allow you tonetwork with the brightest people in your industry and learn about their success stories.
5. Join a professional organization.
Professional organizations are a wonderful opportunity to expand your horizons. Not only will you add more experience to your resume, but you’ll also meet interesting people and have the chance to participate in professional development opportunities.
Many professional organizations give their members exclusive access to conferences, seminars and webinars, conventions, workshops, and even classes. By joining a professional organization, you’ll have a wealth of resources at your fingertips without having to search in different places.
Putting in the effort to advance your career through continuous learning is a very rewarding experience. Hopefully some of these ideas have inspired you to hit the books and get to work on learning new skills!
Do you believe continuous learning is valuable? What have you done to advance your career?
Image Courtesy of shho