Leveraging Your Studies to Get Ahead at Work

by McKenzie Chapman   Ulticareer  | Goals  | Job search  | Advice  | Opportunity  | Career decision  | Building connections  | Networking  | Work tips  | College  | School  | Career advancement  | 
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If you have multiple degrees or fluency in a variety of skills, new education can help give you an edge at work. Whether you went back to school or are self-taught, having additional knowledge will help you stand out from your peers.

Skills are valuable in this economy

Skills are becoming more and more valuable when looking for a job. Bachelor degrees aren’t worth what they once were, and employers are looking for people that have demonstrable experience in their skillset. This means things like knowing different coding languages, computer software, fluency in foreign languages, or an impressive portfolio are worth more than your degree because it means you can find innovative solutions and creative ideas. This may sound like a lot of work, but don’t despair! Look at the big picture. What are you interested in? Chances are there is something that interests you that you can leverage as a valuable skillset. With online course sites like Udemy, CodeAcademy, SkillShare, and more, you can throw yourself into studies to become proficient at marketable skills. Bonus points if it’s a skill you enjoy honing!

If you can’t find a position, carve one out

Reflect on what your education and skillset offers the company. What is unique about you? Do you have innovative ideas, creative solutions, or a stellar content strategy? If you have a visionary plan for how the company might be improved that could only happen if you were given the proper time and resources, talk to your boss about making it happen. You’ll need to have a compelling idea, a rock solid plan (and a plan b), and an impressive presentation, so be prepared!

Move forward within your company OR Use your education to shop around in the industry

If you feel like your skills don’t match your position, or that you’ve outgrown your position, you should look for ways to change that. This gives you a few options. You can look for ways to progress in your current company, or you can look for opportunities outside of your company. If you don’t quite have the skills you need yet, try speaking with your employer about your next step and how to meet your end goal. If there is a cost to continuing your education, they might help subsidize it.

Demonstrate your ability to learn

The ability and desire to learn is a skill unto itself. Show that you’re curious and that you’re willing to put in extra work to develop skills, ask questions, and study. Having the self-awareness to identify what learning process works for you the best is an impressive feat—so show it off!

Use your network built through your education

When you go to special classes or get another degree, you’ll meet a lot of new people. Think of every one of these experiences as an opportunity to build your network. If people are learning the same types of skills as you, chances are they’ll have advantageous, new connections as well. Keep track of your contacts and take advantage of the new additions to your network.

Are there any specific skills or tests needed for you to advance?

If you know you want to advance but aren’t sure what type of skills or education you may need to get here, do thorough research before you proceed. Education can be expensive, so if it doesn’t match your goals, it can be a disappointing and expensive mistake. Know what you need to learn and if there are any specific tests or certifications you should seek out to accomplish your goals.

New technology is constantly being created, so new solutions and technical skills are always needed. The workforce is a competitive environment, so to stay relevant and get ahead, you’ll need to be up to date on the latest tools and strategies. If you get another degree or learn new skills in another way, everything you learn will place you in an advantageous position.

 

How have you used your education or special skills to your advantage at work? Share your experience on UltiCareer to let students or anyone searching for a new career get to know what your type of job is really like.

 

on UltiCareer to help others on their job search, get to know what your type of job is really like.


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