Keeping your skills sharp is vital in today’s competitive job market. Whether you want to earn a promotion at your current place of employment, are looking to transition to a new job, or just want to stay prepared for whatever the future holds, keeping your skills up to date is the way to remain competitive. Becoming the go-to person within your department is valuable when it comes time to consider raises or layoffs.
You can only do this by staying current in your field as well as keeping your technical skills up to date. These are things you will need to take the initiative for on your own rather than rely on your employer to handle.
Consider a Graduate Degree
Tackling a graduate degree is a great way to boost your work opportunities. An MBA program shows that you are dedicated to your career and willing to make sacrifices to provide your employer with the best possible version of yourself. Undertaking a graduate degree while working full-time may seem overwhelming, but is a very attainable goal. Take out student loans to pay for classes, so you aren’t put in a financial bind while studying. Your company may also offer some level of tuition reimbursement for your degree.
Work out the financial aspects of the program early on so you can enjoy the process. You want to focus on classes and work, so you need to keep your stress level low. Many MBA programs are flexible, and many offer classes fully online or with a low residency requirement. You can extend the time to earn your MBA by taking one or two classes a semester. While earning an MBA does require dedication and effort, it is not impossible and you will be surrounded by others in similar situations.
Schedule Time for Personal Development
Personal development will never show up on your calendar. You need to take the time to find and participate in personal development opportunities regularly. When you are swamped at work it is easy to let this task fall by the wayside. While that is understandable, keep in mind that the person responsible for keeping you employable is you.
Your company will enjoy the benefits of your training, but if you don’t make an effort to stay up to date, you can be sure someone else will. There are many online resources available that make personal development a breeze. The obstacle is making time to follow through. There are also trade magazines and other industry reading that is sure to be beneficial, regardless of your specialty.
Share What You Learn
If you attend a conference or other industry event, take advantage of this as the educational opportunity that it is. Networking is beneficial, of course, but be sure to attend a few sessions outside your typical scope if possible. Gaining a range, as well as depth, of knowledge is valuable in any field. Once you return home, take the time to look at notes and handouts and put together a memo discussing information gathered and what you learned. Pass this along to your boss. There may be valuable insight here, or not, but regardless, putting in the effort lets your boss know you appreciate and value these educational opportunities.
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