Companies value employees who have many different skills, like soft and hard skills. If you lack certain skill sets, employers may be willing to help employees gain the experience they need. But taking initiative to develop these skills yourself shows you value professional development and are eager to move your career forward. There are several ways to start building them.
Take Extra Courses or Get Your Degree
Some companies pay for their workers to get a degree related to their job, but even if yours does not offer this perk, it can still be beneficial to get a degree in a relevant field. If you have a bachelor’s degree, it might be valuable to get your master’s degree in that field or a relevant one. If you studied business and are now focusing on the accounting side of things, you could get an accounting or finance degree.
If you already took courses in a similar field, you may be able to transfer some of the credits. Getting your degree can be expensive, but it can pay off in the long run. One way of making your degree more affordable is by taking out a student loan. If you are thinking of going this route, you can use an online marketplace to compare rates across the different providers.
Look for Continuing Education Opportunities
Even after getting your degree, consider looking for continuing education courses in relevant areas. You will often attend classes, either in-person or virtually, taught by a relevant professional. Depending on your industry, you may be required by your employer to enroll in these courses and get a certain number of credits. This helps you stay updated with changes in your industry. Even if you are not required to take them, you could still investigate universities, colleges, trade associations, and private institutions to see if anything beneficial to you is being offered.
Move Horizontally in Your Career
If you think you are experiencing signs it’s time to change your job, consider changing your role instead. More and more companies want employees who can easily switch between jobs or departments. Today, many companies have training departments of experts in certain subjects. Some of these experts specialize in specific skills while others may teach multiple ones. But once you have been trained by one of these experts, you can then work in another department.
Look for a Mentor
Consider shadowing other employees who are good at what they do. You could shadow a top employee in your department or someone in another department. You may follow them around to learn about what they do and how they are successful. The employee will be teaching you about their skills while they perform the job. You can talk to your manager to see if they would be willing to assign you a mentor. You can also find mentors outside your company. You may consider joining a professional association. You may want to investigate the different levels, including national, state, and local. Most local chapters will have meetings that are easier for you to attend, but either way, you will usually be in a group setting where you can connect with other professionals in your field.