School may be out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean we should stop learning. Most professionals agree that remaining relevant in the business world is essential to staying one step ahead of the competition. Learning about the latest innovations and keeping up-to-date with industry changes is key, especially given today’s fast-paced, technologically driven world where the only constant is change.
Before heading back to the classroom or spending thousands of dollars on online courses, though, think about your ultimate goals. Start by asking yourself some basic questions: What new skills will benefit you most? How much time and effort are you willing to devote? What’s your budget? Next, start familiarizing yourself with the many options available so you can decide on the best course of action to take to enhance your skillset, expand your industry knowledge and continue to grow professionally.
Here are a few more tips to get you started:
Create a Customized Lesson Plan
Everyone learns differently. Are you better in a classroom setting, interacting with others, or will you be more comfortable taking an online course in the comfort of your own home? Can you sign up for a one-time class at the local library to brush up on your computer skills or is a six-month certification course necessary to bring you up to speed? Whatever path you take, make a commitment and follow through. Dropping out is not an option!
Keeping up with industry news, staying informed about new products on the market and reading current events should be a part of your everyday routine. To keep you in the know, be proactive. Sign up for services such as Google Alerts, subscribe to industry newsletters, and read blogs and other publications relevant to your field. Attend conferences, industry workshops and networking events at your NAPW Local Chapter. Catch up with colleagues over coffee. Meet with your mentor for lunch. The bottom line is stay informed and stay connected.
Explore Your Options
Now may be the time to step out of your comfort zone, especially if you’ve been thinking about making a career change. Consider taking a course that’s not directly related to your job. If you’re in sales, for example, nurture your creative side by taking a web-design course. Are you bored crunching numbers? Try your hand at sales by attending a seminar or taking a public speaking class. Even if you end up sticking with your current career path, you’ll broaden your scope of knowledge, gain an understanding of how other departments work and be inspired to continue to expand your horizons.
Perks and Benefits
Be sure to check with your company’s Human Resources department about its policy regarding tuition reimbursement. And don’t forget about your NAPW membership benefits–unlimited, on-demand webinars and seminars; access to online courses; free or discounted live seminars and webinars available through NAPW’s partnership with National Seminars Training STAR12; and discounted continuing education opportunities through a partnership with Lorman Education. Operation Graduate helps members and their families begin or complete a degree program at a fully accredited, nonprofit university. Plus, coming soon is NAPW’s 360training program, which features exclusive training and certifications, innovative education technology, over 6,000 online courses and much more.
Be smart and never stop learning. Knowledge is power!
We want to hear from you! How important is education to you? What steps have you taken to wise up and develop professionally?