With many changes happening in the workplace, having adequate skills, and keeping your current skills updated will keep you in demand. At some companies, your boss will actively suggest that you attend conferences or provide opportunities for on-the-job training. But, there are also many jobs that rely on you to develop your skill set.
Even if your organization doesn’t offer training, here are a few things you can do to work your way toward that next promotion or remain competent and coveted in your field.
1. Read Books/Articles
Reading is fundamental, and whether you choose short blogs or books, it will make a difference. So instead of your daily routine of scrolling through Facebook, make a plan to read content that will educate, inform, and introduce you to new tools, skills, and people.
To start, dedicate 30 minutes a day to learning about your industry from top thought leaders. You can also follow industry experts on LinkedIn or Twitter to see the content they are sharing, the companies they follow, or groups they are in. No time to sit down and read? Listen to industry-specific podcasts on your commute, or even while you do chores.
While working at your company, you may not have the opportunity to take up a project requiring a skill you have minimal experience with, but often times volunteer organizations are in serious need of additional bandwidth, and OK with you learning as you go.
During short breaks and weekends, lookout for opportunities where you can volunteer. There are also a number of online jobs you can volunteer to do from your work desk.
3. Take online courses
Thanks to the internet, it’s never been easier to go to class. There are thousands of courses you can take online, many of which are free. One resource is , an online platform for taking classes from top universities like Northwestern and Duke. When you sign up for a class, the description includes an estimate of time you will need per week.
Platforms like , , , and also offer short lessons on almost everything imaginable, delivered by experts. Just remember, your goal is to hone in on a skill or gain expertise in a certain subject matter. It can be tempting to take classes in everything, but try to start with one area of emphasis.
4. Attend events
If your company doesn’t sponsor learning events, you can lookout for events organised by other organisations. Check out or , to find company-sponsored events in your area and industry, or look into nearby co-working spaces, which also tend to host functions regularly.
If you miss out on a local event, you can often find notes on , another great resource for learning! Events are not only a perfect avenue to learn, it’s also great for networking.
5. Look around your office
Don’t underestimate the opportunity to learn some new skills at the place you go to work every day. Look around the office and see what your colleagues are working on. Are there projects or issues you’re interested in learning more about? What else would you love to do in the office, asides the role you’ve been assigned?
Ask another team member or department if you could help out on an assignment, or even shadow someone for a day. For instance, let’s say you’re tasked with writing blog posts, but the marketing team is responsible for getting them out into the world. You can learn more about SEO and social media—for free!—just by sitting down with a teammate during your 1 hour break or over lunch.
What steps do you take to keep your skills updated and develop new skill-sets?