Are you trying to decide on a career? Looking to change careers after a few years (or more) in the workforce? Need to learn more about your current field? Or perhaps you are interested in turning a favorite hobby into a lucrative business. While many of us dream of growing in our current occupation or starting a new career; we might struggle with the concept of finding more time for career training in an already jam-packed day. The good news is that there are many different ways to obtain training and development in your field.
With today’s technological advances and options for online learning, it’s easier than ever to have a career growth plan that incorporates a myriad of training and development methods. This type of learning can easily fit to your schedule – it’s learning on your time and on your terms.
Here are some ideas of how you might fit career development into your schedule:
- Enroll in for an online course or an online program. Many online courses offer training that will prepare you to sit for certification exams.
- Seek out personal enrichment opportunities. Sign up for a course in Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace or Better Interpersonal Communication. Improving your aptitude in these areas will benefit you regardless of your career.
- Subscribe to an online library of training courses. You will have access to courses on almost any topic, and the online methodology will enable to you to fit your learning in when you can.
- Blogs and Podcasts can provide a wealth of information relevant to your field. Select a few that you enjoy and have them delivered right to your inbox when new articles or podcasts are published.
- Focus on a skill you’d like to learn, and, if possible, teach yourself! The internet, library and bookstore all contain information on how to do just about anything. Pick a topic of interest and dive in!
- Read and then read some more. If you prefer physical books to online reading, visit the business section of your local library or bookstore. Ask your managers for suggestions on what books to read; they’ll recognize that you are trying to better yourself and will appreciate that you value their opinions.
- Enroll in a class. Plenty of schools offer adult education courses that cater to working individuals who need to take courses in the evening hours. Or consider an online course in a topic that interests you!
- Attend a conference. Not only will you learn about the latest practices in your profession, you will make important contacts with others in the field.
- Volunteering gives you the opportunity to improve your networking skills and develop leadership roles outside of the office.
- Structure your free time. Lunch time and commuting times provide wonderful opportunities to fit learning into your day. Use this time to study, read, listen to an audiobook, pursue a goal, plan and upskill where needed. Putting extra time toward career growth opportunities is much better than spending that time scrolling through Instagram!
- Find a mentor who is willing to share advice and give guidance. You may find that you need two or more different mentors to help guide you in different areas of your life (think professional and personal growth). There is something to be gained from almost any interaction with others!
- Brush up on your "soft skills." Do you have trouble with organization? Time management? Empathy and understanding? Put an effort into improving those soft skills and you are bound to see improvement in all areas of your life! From feeling prepared and making it to a meeting on time to improved personal relationships, there are many benefits to improving your soft skills.
- Always be open to accepting new tasks and roles at your organization. So much of what we know has been learned by doing. Jump in and find your way. And be sure to soak up all the information you come across during your time in that role.
Take charge and implement steps to grow your career today. Not only will you feel empowered, managers will notice that you want to remain a key, knowledgeable player on their team. As Joyce A.E. Russell wrote in The Washington Post: "With today's more complex business environment, learning is not just a nice thing to do--it is essential for staying on top of things. None of us can afford to remain stagnant in our knowledge."
If you want to grow in your career, the key can be found in a commitment to continuous learning. It’s necessary to plan for how you are going to not only stay current, but to exceed employer expectations and continuously upskill in order to remain relevant. And if you’re looking to jump into a new career altogether, you can obtain the training you need right at home.