If you thought you were done with formal learning on the day you donned a graduation cap and gown, think again. Pursuing continuing education opportunities will give your career (and your confidence!) the boost it’s been looking for. The duration of your studies can vary between an hour-long webinar to a full semester course, but regardless of what type of formal learning you undertake, you’ll benefit in a number of ways.
The World Is Changing, So Should You
Unless you entered the workforce in the last few months, the world you were trained to work in has changed. Technology is evolving at a rapid pace and with it, the way we get things done. Taking an afternoon workshop on how to market your company via social media or spending time at night working your way through an online course on cryptocurrency is going to pay dividends going forward.
You’ll Be More Marketable
Your experience is worth its weight in gold, but so is your training. Taking additional classes, earning targeted certificates, and, of course, pursuing advanced degrees can give you an edge when applying for new positions or seeking promotions. In addition, pursuing educational opportunities makes you more valuable in your current position.
Less Stress + More Productivity
Let’s face it, taking on a project you feel ill-equipped to manage is incredibly stressful. Imagine your new desk and chair has arrived unassembled. There are no directions, just a lot of pieces. It’s up to you to figure out how to put this all together and have it a) look right and b) be safe to use. You’ve used a desk and chair before. You’ve even assembled a bookcase once or twice, but this is different. Your stress rises and you begin to work, second guessing your process, pausing to look at the pieces again, trying again. Now, imagine the box came with a set of directions, or that you were able to pull up a how-to video on YouTube before you got started. Armed with know-how you get that desk and chair together efficiently and properly. Which of those scenarios sounds better to you?
You’ll Learn to Learn
There are learning opportunities all around you; sometimes we just need a little spark to notice them. When you’re in the “I’m going to learn something new” mindset, those opportunities become easier to identify.
You’ll Learn to Problem Solve / Get Creative
Learning is about opening yourself up to new ideas and new information. Once you start stretching those mental muscles, the benefits stay with you as you go about your day-to-day activities, too. Whether you’re applying the new things you’ve learned, or you’re just primed to look at things from a variety of new angles, you’ll benefit from a fresh perspective.
You’ll Expand Your Network
If your educational pursuits go beyond a few isolated online endeavors, you’re going to end up meeting new people. That’s a good thing. These are folks with similar interests or career aspirations, and they are good people to roll into your network.
You’ll Be More Confident
Mastering a new skill can make you feel like there isn’t anything you can’t do when you put your mind to it. Sure, you might not feel invincible, but you will feel more comfortable with your ability to tackle challenges outside your norm, because, well, you just did.
You Can Stretch
Listen to this: you can take a class for a new hobby you want to learn or a topic that has no real career link and still experience some of the on-the-job perks listed above. It’s true, your boss may not see the value in your new watercolor painting skills, but she will appreciate your confidence, problem solving, openness to learning new things, and reduced stress levels (because even if you don’t have to master the paintbrush for your day-job, spending time on what you enjoy is a great stress buster, too!) Go ahead and find a class in something you want to learn whether or not you have to learn it.