By Drs. Sheila Boysen, Lesley Page and Mike Cherry

Newswise — Education is a lifelong activity not just something that happens between the ages of 5 and 22. Employers and employees who recognize and embrace this truth by investing in the ongoing development of their employees and themselves, stand to benefit in numerous ways. Professionals who embrace opportunities to grow and develop will be able to navigate career changes and advancements as they need to.

Upskilling, reskilling, and continuous learning opportunities can help employers to retain talent and can help individuals to navigate many different career shifts as they need to.

Upskilling is about facilitating enhancements of skills and building on the foundation of existing skills. It usually requires further training or education opportunities to grow in a field of expertise. Upskilling is initiated through mentoring programs, online courses, workshops, or other micro-learning opportunities.

Reskilling is about gaining new skill sets. This can be done in a few ways. Maybe you are interested in another department or career path. Or, perhaps, new roles and technologies are emerging that would fit someone perfectly.  No matter how many years you’ve been in your industry, there’s always room for growth. And to grow, you need to take as much action as possible. You will need to take ownership of your own professional growth for development in both hard and soft skills. Here are some ways you can do that:

Participate in Teamwork and Get a Mentor

Whenever possible, cross-train with peers that have the skills and experience you are interested in developing. If you have built strong relationships with coworkers, approach those that you admire and ask them if you can learn from them.

Develop Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

EQ is all about nurturing a deeper awareness of emotions within yourself, and by consequence perceiving the deeper needs of yourself and other people around you. For some, this means practicing new habits such as mindfulness meditation and yoga. For others, it means reading and creating space for yourself to think deeply about your emotions throughout the day.

Work on Stress Tolerance and Management

Learn how to detect burnout in yourself and in others. Contrary to what many people think, burnout is not just long work hours. The truth is human beings will spend inordinate amounts of time doing the things they love without ever feeling burnout.

Take Free Online Courses

In this digital age, some of the best training is simple to access online. Consider using Coursera, Udemy, and iTunes U for inexpensive or free courses relevant to your interests.

Set Learning Goals

As you consider training options, you should build a curriculum or learning schedule for yourself. Look for books that can supplement classes and tutorials. Hold yourself accountable. As you complete goals in your training plan, publish your educational achievements on your LinkedIn profile. Use LinkedIn’s hard and soft skills list to expand your profile and resume.

Join us at Organizational Leadership at Lewis University. We curate leadership content each week and we’d love to have you be part of our community.

Spend Time Networking

Career networking is anything that you do to connect with peers in your industry. You will find that many professionals are eager to help others. Consider participating in local networking groups and optional work events.

Education is constant. It is not something that stops in our 20s. Opportunities to learn come every minute in our personal and professional lives. Embrace them!

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