Any successful person will tell you the same thing – whether you’ve just embarked on your career journey or you’re several years into it, there’s one key piece of advice that will help you to always be on top of your career game:
Never stop learning.
The fact of the matter is that your current position reflects the education and skills that got you here. The question to ask yourself, however, is do you have a plan for where you want to be next? If not, you need to get one quickly because, in the words of Marshall Goldsmith, “What got you here won’t get you there.”
Investing the time and energy in improving yourself and becoming better at what you do will make you more valuable to your company, your colleagues and your clients. Pushing the boundaries of your knowledge can even open the doors to new career opportunities for you.
To achieve genuine career growth, it is essential to continuously expand your knowledge. Make the effort to learn new skills and apply them in your job. Keep up-to-date with what’s happening in your industry and your profession, so that you can be ahead of the curve. As mentioned by Joyce A.E. Russell 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.”
Make time for professional development
Many people would have the same response to this advice – “I don’t have the time to take courses or learn new skills.”
It’s understandable why people feel this way. Juggling work, family commitments, social lives and hobbies can leave us with barely any free time. And let’s be honest, who wants to spend their few spare hours a week doing more work? The reality, however, is that it’s actually easier to find the time than you might think. The secret is in knowing where to look.
“In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.”
One key area that most of us completely disregard is the time we spend commuting to work and back every day. Whether you walk, drive, or catch public transport, your daily commute can generally give you anywhere between 10 minutes and a couple of hours of time every single day. Why not utilise this time to read books, listen to podcasts or catch up on the latest industry news?
Another option could be to better utilise your lunch breaks at work. Instead of catching up on Facebook and Twitter, why not check out an interview with a thought leader on YouTube? Spending half an hour a few times week on useful and engaging information can add up to hours of training every month, without you ever needing to change your schedule.
Your resources are endless
Nearly all of the world’s knowledge has been curated and published on the Internet. We’re living in the information age, which means that you have no excuse for not learning. Regardless of whether you want to learn a new skill, do some research or understand a new piece of software, all the information you could need is readily-accessible and (usually) sitting in your pocket. You might even inspire yourself with some great new ideas.
It’s easy to find what you’re looking for with a simple online search. Online course libraries like Alison.com and E-book libraries like Scribd are filled with resources on a wide range of topics, so that you can progress yourself in the areas where you need it most.
It’s also worth looking into your company’s training initiatives and learning if they offer any opportunities you may be interested in. You never know, one course could be the difference between staying in your current role and getting promoted.
Professionals that take the time to invest in their training and development are the ones that stand apart from the rest. So what are you waiting for?
Let us know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below!