Whether you’re working as a nurse or a mechanic, a little more education can help you to address your day-to-day challenges a little better. It can help you get noticed by your senior managers, which could help you earn a promotion in the future. Each new thing you learn is an extra tool in your toolkit and an extra string to your bow. Some are even extra credentials to add to your resumé, which could see you hired in a more senior position at a different firm. This article’s about how education can boost your career prospects, and the opportunities that are out there for you to learn while you work in your job.
One of the most important elements of your career is how you get on with people. This is clearly more important for some roles than for others. For instance, if you’re working in a “customer-facing” environment, whether that’s as a nurse on a ward or a member of hospitality staff in a restaurant or hotel, you’ll need to have excellent social skills that take account of each different person’s needs. That said, even if you’re in a fairly non-social job, such as performing administrative duties in an office, the way that you get on with people, network with those around you, and chat with your colleagues will all determine how you’re seen and respected in the job.
The best way to improve your social skills is through practice. You cannot take a course for a handful of weeks and emerge as someone with excellent, polished social skills. You can, though, take courses in particular elements of your social makeup, if you feel that might help you perform better in your job. One common course in this regard is the public speaking course, which will help you if you’re currently struggling with giving presentations and speaking publicly to colleagues or customers.
Another important thing to learn in any job is how to perform your job as efficiently as possible. Senior managers love efficiency, and they’re always looking out for ways in which they can help people to learn new skills that’ll help their organization work better. You can help in this regard by always looking for shortcuts and more efficient ways to do your job, which you can then pass on to your colleagues and your managers as something that you’ve developed off your own back. Often, this is the sort of thing that’ll earn approving nods higher up in your organization and could well see you promoted to a managerial role.
Now, there’s nothing groundbreaking about finding efficient working practices. Often, they’ll come to you as second nature, helping you to do more work in less time. Still, there are ways that you can find better working practices that you can institute in your role and throughout your career. You may find it useful, for instance, to read online guides written by people who’ve worked for a long time in your field. They might have tips and advice for you to follow. You may also find that there are particular software solutions out there on the market that can help you do your job quicker. Those that are free are well worth your time investing in, as they might be able to help you work faster and harder.
In other jobs, you’ll have to pass through an educational gateway in order to progress your career and make yourself eligible for promotion. Experience in your job is often enough, over a period of many years, to earn you a promotion. However, if you’re interested in rapidly climbing the ladder and giving yourself opportunities for career development that you’re interested in taking, then education and qualifications can certainly help. Most of these qualifications will come via educational institutions, and you may well have to pay to get access to those that will have the highest impact on your career trajectory.
Take a nurse as an example. Of course, a nurse already has a qualification in order to work on a ward. If they’re looking to become a more senior nurse, offering better care on the ward or managing other nurses, heading back to college or nurse school is one way to do that. They can take a BSN to MSN program that’ll earn them a master’s degree in nursing, which they can then take back to their job in order to make themselves eligible for a more senior position. These courses needn’t mean taking an extended break from work – many are offered as online courses, which means that you can complete them in your spare time and let your manager know when you’ve received your qualification.
Some fields move faster than others. In the field of software development, for instance, there’s always new technology being developed that practitioners are happy to search for and bring into their own practice within a matter of hours. In other fields, the progress is slower and the working methodology is more traditional and unchanged. By educating yourself to a high level, you’ll be able to make changes to your own approach by engaging with modern technologies and practices that no one else in your firm may be currently using.
This is an exciting way to progress in your career, as it’ll show that you’re willing to go the extra mile in order to be on the cutting edge of developing technology. You’ll be keeping your eyes on the news and on industry journals in your space in order to see if there’s something that you can bring into your own working life to make your approach to your job more current and cutting edge. That’s great news for your manager, who will be able to learn from what you’ve learned and may well ask your colleagues to follow suit.
There are courses that are directed at people within your specific career, and there are others that are more general and could give you a rich new form of skills that are adjacent to your current role. These courses might not be automatically associated with what you do on a day-to-day basis, but they will give you a broader range of approaches when you meet with a problem. They’re also brilliant when it comes to your personal development, as it may well be that you’re able to apply for a new role within your current organization that will benefit from you bringing new skills to the table.
Adjacent skills are also useful if you’re thinking of changing companies, or you’re considering changing your entire career. By slowly moving into a different specialty, you’ll be able to apply for different jobs that make use of all of the skills you believe you have to offer an organization. Always be prepared to learn adjacent skills, be that through an online course or workshop, reading a book, or taking up training that’s offered by your company but that you are not necessarily party to.
There’s no better way to get better at your job than to engage in all of the training sessions that your job has to offer. Some of these will be conducted by external organizations, while other sessions will be conducted internally by a senior manager who has prepared a session that’ll show you how things work in a different area of your business. Some of these sessions might turn out to be a little tedious, but you’ll come away from each one with at least some new knowledge that you can bring to bear in your career. Besides helping you to change your working approach to better suit your objectives, attending these sessions also shows senior personnel that you’re serious about learning and developing in your role.
As such, do sign up for every training opportunity that’s offered to you. If you can, it’s important to also request training in areas that you feel you could develop further in. The worst-case scenario is that you’re told you cannot receive that training, but there’s a good chance that managers will work to provide it to you and your colleagues. Keep your eyes peeled for announcements about training across your company in order to always seize these free opportunities to learn on the job.
Having a mentor that you work alongside is one of the easiest and most nourishing ways to boost your career. A mentor will have been in the job for many years longer than you and will therefore have faced many of the challenges that await you on the road ahead. That’s the case if you’re a nurse who’s looking for a senior nurse to show you the ropes, or if you’re a young professional who’s looking to climb the corporate ladder. A mentor who likes and respects you will do their utmost to pass on their knowledge from their years in the job – and will likely find this process as rewarding as you do.
Finding a mentor can be difficult, however. Some organizations don’t put in place a formal mentorship structure, so you’re left to your own devices to find someone who you think could help you learn and progress your career. It’s not wise to roll up at someone’s desk and simply ask them to be your mentor. It’s better to take it slowly, going in steps. For instance, you could ask a senior colleague for advice on a case you’re currently working on. You might ask if you can go along with a colleague when they’re heading to an important meeting, so that you can sit in and make notes on their approach. Any way in can help you build a mentorship and friendship bond with senior colleagues, who will then invite you to work closely with them more and more in the future.
In the modern world, English is certainly the international language of commerce and trade. It’s used across businesses and is often the go-to language in places where there are multiple languages present. That suits those who are born with English as a first language, but it doesn’t mean that learning a new language is a pointless exercise for your career. Far from it, learning a new language can actually make you an incredibly important and valued member of a team – someone who can bring something to bear in meetings or with clients who also speak a different language.
As such, learning a new language can certainly set you apart from other candidates for jobs you’re applying for. It can show that you’re a well-rounded individual who is interested in other cultures and languages and will be comfortable interacting with a range of different people. Learning a new language as an adult will also set you apart as a self-starter and a self-motivated individual, which is a reputation that you can make the most out of in the rest of your career.
As well as the above advice, you can also learn from articles and webinars that teach you how to ruthlessly chase promotion opportunities. These come from thought leaders who have reached the pinnacle of their careers and are happy to share how they did it, or they might come from motivational speakers who are trained to get the most out of people and to relight the flame of ambition that can sometimes dim within all of us.
Learning how to be assertive and to be confident will of course help you throughout your career. However, it’s in the task of earning promotions that this is particularly useful, as it’ll ensure that you’re never letting opportunities for development merely pass you by. Find all of these resources in order to learn how you can progress your career by seizing the initiative and grabbing opportunities for promotion with both hands. It’s only by learning this particular skill that you’ll fulfill your potential throughout your career.
There you have it: a guide about how and why education will help you in your career. You don’t need to concentrate on all of these tips at once but bear them in mind if you’re looking to push through to become a better professional in the future.