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CAREER ADVANCEMENT / DEC. 28, 2016
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Lifelong Learning: How It Can Help You Advance Your Career

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Many people in today’s workforce are beginning to realise that learning does not stop on graduation day. In fact, what with the need to train for each new job or role you get, and learning to operate new systems to keep up to date with the demands of technology, it’s obvious that education continues to play an important role throughout person’s adult life. What many people fail to understand, however, is that by taking charge of their continuing education and seizing opportunities to enhance their learning, they are setting themselves ahead of the pack.

As you probably know, the workplace is evolving, after all, and in a matter of a few years, nothing will be the same, mainly because of technology but also because as the world is moving ahead, it has different expectations of the business world. As such, if you are interested in professional growth, it’s important to keep ahead of the curve. To make it in the cut-throat corporate world, you need to be super, confident and you need to be able to seize opportunities that will bring you closer to your professional goals, but perhaps the most crucial step to career advancement is your ability to keep up with industry trends and demands, and this is where lifelong learning comes in.

 

The Benefits of Lifelong Learning

Benefits of lifelong learning

1. It Boosts Your Skills

Nothing will drive your career advancement more than gaining more skills, and this is why you should motivate yourself to go back to school or take up a couple of courses that will help you achieve your goals.

You Gain New Skills

There’s a good chance that as you move forward in your career, your expectations and interests change, and whereas when you graduated, you probably thought your career would go one way, you are now, years later, interested in achieving different goals. And although there is nothing wrong with that, it may require some effort to gain the necessary skills. But, as gaining them is the only way to be successful, you shouldn’t think twice before returning to school.

You Become Current and Updated

As the workplace is changing, it’s important to keep up with it, especially if you are looking for opportunities to grow professionally. It’s essential that you don’t remain stuck on practices of an era long gone. By taking up courses that will allow you to catch up with your industry’s trends, you are, essentially, buying yourself a one-way ticket towards career success.

It Deepens Your Level of Knowledge

Of course, what often keeps us back is not that we are not current enough or that we lack skills; rather, the problem is that we only know things superficially. But in order to take a leadership role in your company, you are going to need to know things on a deeper level. If you’ve only ever taken a Bachelor degree, for example, then you might not possess a deeper understanding of how your industry works, but if you are hoping to get a promotion, you may want to consider going back to university for that postgraduate degree you’ve always talked about.

2. It Helps You Focus on Your Goals

Another significant problem that many professionals face is that, although they’d like to see themselves move up the career ladder, they can’t motivate themselves enough to do so. This is because remaining focused on your goals is easier said than done – especially if you have other things you care about in life, as well, and you’re trying to find an ideal work-life balance.

Enrolling in a course makes you feel like you have a purpose and, as such, it helps you remain focused on the end-goal. This is especially true if you are someone who can’t quite motivate themselves to map out a strategy that will allow them to get the promotion they are after. By taking on a course, you are essentially forcing yourself to stick to the path you’ve designed for yourself and you are, therefore, guaranteed future career success.

3. It Opens Up New Opportunities

What is perhaps the biggest benefit of all is that by continuing your education, you are essentially opening yourself up to a myriad of new opportunities. Whether that is changing jobs, industries or simply feeling passionate about something completely new, lifelong learning can help you avoid getting bored at work as it constantly offers new challenges and it motivates you to bring out your best qualities.

Say, for example, that you are lacking motivation at work and find no interest in the job you do but are not quite ready to give up on the company where you work as it pays well. If this scenario sounds all but too familiar to you, you might not know what to do with yourself, but you should know that continuing your education will help you find purpose in your work again. One of the many benefits of lifelong learning is that it helps challenge you which might be exactly what you need to rekindle your passion for work.

Even if what you choose to learn is irrelevant to the work you do, you’ll still feel inspired and motivated to do things with your life, which might be exactly what you need to push you and talk to your boss about taking on different duties or changing jobs.

 

Where to Continue Your Education

     

Postgraduate Degrees

Although it’s now mostly the norm for people to get their postgraduate degree straight after finishing their undergraduate degree, you may have never pursued one as, back in the day, they weren’t quite so popular. However, if you are hoping to advance your career through boosting your skills and making yourself more essential to the company where you work, they are a great opportunity to consider.

Postgraduate degrees can make you more specialised in your industry as they usually deepen your knowledge and you can even make your postgraduate degree relevant to your current position by writing your dissertation on something relevant.

Of course, it’s not just a matter of getting a promotion in your current company. Getting your Master’s could also help you pursue a position further up the corporate ladder in another company, while it could also be the power tool you need to switch careers successfully.

Undergraduate Degrees

Undergraduate degrees might seem counter-intuitive for someone who’s not at the beginning of their careers but they can, in fact, aid your career advancement – especially if you are looking to start something completely new.

Whether you are changing careers, jobs or you are simply moving sideways in the company where you work, there’s a good chance that you are going to need to extend your skill set, and this is where an undergraduate degree can help. A Bachelor’s degree helps you get insight while it also helps you expand your knowledge in a number of different areas.

The problem with undergraduate degrees, however, is that they take far too long, and they require dedication which you might not be able to demonstrate if you already have a job. But, luckily, part-time degrees are there to assist people who can’t quite drop everything and enrol in university – and although it may seem as too much trouble, remember that you are building a future of success, so you surely can dedicate a few years.

Online Courses

Online courses often sound like pretend learning, or at least that’s what they sound like to people who’ve never actually taken one. The truth, however, is that online courses can help anyone who’s eager to learn, and who has limited time and resources. According to Lisa Haugh, VP at Udemy:

At no time has it been more important for individuals to continue nurturing and developing their skills than it is today.

That’s not only because automation is becoming more of a thing of the present than the future, but also because companies are looking for top talent to join their ranks, and anyone who’s considered to be unable to keep up with industry trends is not only not promoted but also found without a job sooner or later. This, basically, means that if you want to compete with the new talent that your company is probably trying to sign up, then you should possess both experience and knowledge.

 

Career advancement often seems like an unattainable goal, and the truth is that most professionals go through their working lives holding a position that does not satisfy or make them happy, but you could change that as it’s possible to have a job that keeps you interested and makes waking up in the morning a bit easier. All you really need to do that is to identify your goals and understand where you want your career to go. Once you do that, you need to map out a carefully planned career development strategy and start looking into courses you can take to boost your knowledge and develop skills that can help you achieve your goals.

Do you have any other questions about lifelong learning and its benefits on your career? If you do, please let us know in the comment section below or send us your questions here.

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