Students everywhere are starting to go back to school, or getting back to online school depending on the COVID-19 situation in your area.
This time of year always gets me thinking about learning, and how the thirst for knowledge should be a lifelong passion, not something that ends with school. In fact, being a lifelong learner is essential to being successful in the workforce.
Today, people change careers far more often than they did 50 years ago. As a result, there is a need for professionals to constantly learn and grow so they can stay relevant and employable. Otherwise, you could find your industry or skill sets outdated and lose your career momentum with a devastating job loss.
The solution is to create a strategic plan to always be learning and upgrading your skills. Here are my top 3 tips for doing this in a timely and cost effective manner:
- Update your resume every six months – The simple act of updating your resume helps you keep track of things you’ve done to learn and grow your skills. It’s much easier to remember recent events, then to try to go back three years ago to assess what you’ve learned.
Updating your resume can also be highly motivating, as it can serve as a good reminder of the skill gaps that you still need to fill. Your resume, like your career, should always be evolving.
- Pick one skill set and focus on becoming expert-level at it – Studies show that people who are seen as specialists in a subject are also viewed as more intelligent. The result? They assume if you are this smart in one subject, you must be smart in other subjects too. By identifying a highly valuable skill set to employers and becoming the best at it, you will stay in-demand.
In addition, in many cases becoming the best for something will only increase your thirst for knowledge. It will become easier to identify other skill sets that you want to upgrade as your career continues to evolve, and you’ll start to really appreciate the process.
- Build a social media feed to support your knowledge growth – Many people use social media to distract and entertain themselves. But, I use it to build really easy ways for me to learn from industry pros. When you set up an account and only choose to follow people in your field, industry, etc., you create a way for you to review what these experts are sharing on a daily basis. As the creators and curators of cutting-edge information, these pros are making it easy for you to stay up-to-date and learn new things on a daily basis.
Learning doesn’t have to be about going back for a formal degree. It also doesn’t have to be expensive. Today, thanks to the internet, there are multiple ways we can set ourselves up for success as lifelong learners, including online courses and certification programs that are offered for affordable prices or for free.
Some employers offer opportunities to upskill or have programs in place to cover some of the cost for employees looking to upskill. You should always be on the lookout for these types of opportunities, but also be prepared to create your own if they’re not readily available.
I challenge everyone to take a step back and honestly assess where you’re at in your career and ask yourself if you’re doing all you can to learn new skills. If not, now is as good of a time as ever to start!
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