career advancementWhen you’re done with school and knee-deep in your career, you’re not required to learn anymore, right? This is only correct if you want to stay exactly where you are!
The truth is, if you want to reach the next level in your career, you need to always be learning. Industry trends are constantly changing, new skills pop up and better ways to do our respective jobs are continually uncovered. If you stay stagnant, opportunities will pass you by and your colleagues who stayed on top of it will leave you in the dust. As an ambitious professional, a commitment to learning is just as important as your commitment to even show up for work!
Here are ways to keep your skills fresh and knowledge growing:
Go Back to School 
Continuing education can be highly beneficial to your industry knowledge and skills, as well as your marketability. Whether it’s a few classes here and there, a certification or a MBA, if your company offers a program that supports continuing education, definitely look into it. Additionally, if you’ve been stuck in one role and you don’t foresee an opportunity to move up, an advanced degree can open more doors.
Between your busy professional and personal lives, you might never feel like there is a “good time” to go back to school; it’s a massive time and financial commitment. However, many have found it a necessary step to advance. Talk to your company and your loved ones, and creating a plan to go back to school, regardless if it’s a year from now or five years. 
Ask to Job Shadow 
In any given company, there are several departments that frequently work together and rely on each other to achieve goals. For example, HR teams often work with Communications departments to roll out new internal policies. Learn about jobs in these other departments! The best way to do this is ask to job shadow a member of the team for a few hours. During your shadow, learn their goals, day-to-day work, challenges and strengths. Walking that mile in their shoes can give you new perspective while also showing you how to do your job more effectively. 
Join a Professional Organization
There are so many professional organizations! Regardless if you’re a wedding DJ or an Accountant, there is at least one out there relevant to your career. Joining one gives you access to a robust network, conferences, webinars, lunch-and-learns, etc., so associating with a professional organization can give you more credibility.
Next step is actually taking advantage of these learning opportunities! After all, you need to make those dues worth it.
Read, Read, Read
Newsletters, books, white papers, blogs – there is no end to resources for your career! Reading continually is the easiest way to make sure you’re caught up on your industry’s news and latest trends. Make a commitment to read a business book a quarter, a white paper a month or a blog article during your commute. You will be amazed at how much you will learn and grow from simply hitting the books!
Learning does not end with school. If you want to make the most of your career path, never stop!
Have additional insight? We would love to read it in a comment!

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