7 ways further education can take your career to the next level

There are several proven self-development recipes out there that you might be aware of. For example, it is common knowledge that if you want to get fit, you can start exercising and perhaps make time for the gym. If you would like to develop a better social life, you have to invest hours into interacting with people, whether it’s offline or online.

But what can you do when you want to take your career to the next level? What puts an employee in the best position to move up the ranks in the constantly changing work environment? While there may be several answers to these questions, furthering your education appears at the top of the list.

Why furthering your education is the key to achieving your career goals

There are different roles at each organizational level. This means that the functions of an entry-level employee are quite different from those of a senior manager. For example, a recruit in the nursing department would require a lot more experience to fill the shoes of the department’s head. However, it is much easier to bridge this gap with higher educational achievements.

Here are seven ways educating yourself improves your chances of achieving your career goals.

1. Increasing your knowledge

Learning more is the primary reason for any form of education. Whether it is through an undergraduate course, a graduate degree, or even a training program, you get more knowledge about your chosen field accompanied by practical skills applicable in your workplace.

Online learning is proving more and more popular nowadays and can provide the perfect platform for both those looking to gain further knowledge of their chosen career and those looking to jump into something completely new. Click here to find out how aspiring nurses can quickly get on, and climb up, the professional ladder.

Reaching the top echelons in your workplace doesn’t mean you should stop seeking knowledge or looking further afield. At every stage, there are always different ways to function better. For this reason, there should be no end to your pursuit of knowledge.

2. Improving your soft skills

Beyond acquiring the knowledge to function better as an employee, higher education can also help sharpen your soft skills. These are personal attributes that enable individuals to effectively plug into the team network in the office or workplace. 

No well-structured company allows staff to operate in isolation without interacting with the rest of the team. As the saying goes, “teamwork makes a dream work.” Although your career goals are vital, the company’s vision and objective should always be top priorities.

You might be an efficient worker, but if you can’t replicate such impressive form as a team player, it might be challenging to advance in your career. If you belong to the aforementioned group, now is the perfect time to improve your soft skills and become an indispensable asset to the company.

Furthermore, soft skills go beyond teamwork and cover critical thinking and problem-solving. You’ll often face challenges outside the scope of your field or general bottlenecks. In such cases, your job expertise might not be very helpful. However, something that could come in handy would be those take-homes from programs and courses that improve your critical thinking abilities.

3. Developing a stronger work ethic

Striving for a degree in addition to your regular work can be very demanding. Your ability to balance both aspects might be a tall order, particularly if you have family responsibilities as well. However, it increases your capacity for resistance, working under pressure, and multi-tasking over time.

Moreover, efficiently combining academic courses with your work without compromise sends a strong message to your superiors. The drive to expand your knowledge makes you a better asset for the organization going forward.

The common notion is that the higher you go up the ranks, the less work you will have to do, but that is not entirely true. Different organizational levels call for different functions, and a stronger work ethic is usually required as you advance. Pursuing a degree while working is an excellent way to nurture a more robust work ethic for the next level.

4. Increasing your confidence

Getting a degree while working can boost your confidence in two major ways. First, success is a great confidence booster. Going through a learning program and obtaining a certificate is always a big win. The fact that you can achieve such a significant milestone puts you in a state of mind where you feel you can do almost anything.

In addition, the increased knowledge and sharper skills you develop naturally leave you more convinced of yourself. Note that this increased confidence level doesn’t mean you consider yourself to be better than others who don’t have the same level of exposure. On the contrary, it simply means you know your value and what you can deliver.

5. Expanding your social network

Let’s start by stating that there is a big difference between social media and social networks. While you might have thousands of followers on Twitter and even more friends on Facebook, that does not guarantee a good social network. For the purpose of this article and the business world, social networking has to do with exposure and interaction in a professional setting.

While furthering your education, the classroom would likely be filled with professionals who are similarly trying to advance their careers through education. Such a network of like-minded individuals can serve as great motivation. You may even build friendships that will come in handy outside of the classroom.

6. Helping with your job hunt

Sometimes, getting a new job is the only way to achieve your career goals. The objective and vision of an organization may not align with those of your career. In these cases, finding a new job will become necessary.

It’s necessary to point out that increasing your level of education gives you an upper hand when changing your career. Returning to school can also come in handy for the unemployed who want to improve their skills so they become more indispensable.

7. Improving your imagination and creativity

For the most part, a typical job is based on routines, and almost every challenge a worker faces has designated solutions. However, some scenarios require measures that are “outside the box”, which means you have to put on your thinking cap to help find a solution.

Education plays an essential role in developing an individual’s sense of creativity. These days, the structure of modern education is even more focused on broadening the imagination. Thanks to the internet, students are no longer limited to the information in their textbooks or classroom. They have access to diverse information from different parts of the world.

Easy ways to further your education

One of the reasons many people are opposed to furthering their education is the perceived difficulty of juggling school with other commitments. If you are looking for the perfect way to study without neglecting family or work, here are the top options to consider:

Evening/Weekend Classes: Formal education within a physical institution often requires a full-time commitment. However, you can find programs that allow you to take classes during the evenings or weekends. That way, when you’re not working, you’ll be acquiring knowledge to build your career. “Saturday Schools” are also becoming very popular. Depending on your job type, you can find programs with classes scheduled earlier in the day.

Online courses: Even with part-time hours, keeping up with attendance while working full-time may be difficult. One more advantage of the advancements in technology is the ease of e-learning. This means that you do not have to be in the classroom physically, and you can catch up with lessons and assignments while you are not at work.

Distance learning and audio learning make furthering your education much more feasible. They have become the go-to option not just for workers but also for regular students who are looking to balance education with other vital aspects of their lives.

There are several courses relevant to your field that you can complete online thanks to reputable learning platforms such as Coursera and Udemy. Accredited universities also provide online courses where you won’t have to show up to the classroom at all. Before opting for such courses, ensure that there are no residency requirements.

Conclusion

Increasing your knowledge base is always a good idea, but as a working professional, it could help you achieve your career goals and puts you in a better position to advance in your workplace.

Getting a second undergraduate degree or joining a master’s program isn’t the only way to acquire knowledge. Simply enrolling in a short course or training program will enable you to develop your skills.

Thanks to the different solutions available nowadays, learning doesn’t have to be too demanding. With online courses and part-time classes, you’ll be able to balance your career with your learning objectives.

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