When you want to develop new skills as an employee, it is often assumed that you are limited to your employer´s willingness to let you participate in formal training or courses. However, budget is usually limited and therefore often only the lucky few get send by their employers to the courses they want to develop more skills. So as an employee, if you want to keep gaining more skills and increasing your employability, you need to stop depending only on your employer and start trying something new.
Have you thought about these ideas to gain more skills?
- Take online courses
Hit the internet, it is full of free online courses in about every single topic you can think about. Not only universities worldwide are opening their virtual doors to everyone worldwide who is interested in a certain topic by offering free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), but also on YouTube countless tutorials are offered and many entrepreneurs are offering free- or very cheap e-courses. These courses and tutorials can all be taken in your own time and you decide the speed or rhythm you want to go with.
- Volunteer for different projects
At work, try to broaden your scope. Volunteer for helping out in different projects outside of your area is a great way to gain new skills. Dependent on your manager this might increase your working hours a bit, if you´re lucky you can just join different projects as your usual workload but if your manager is not up for this idea, you might want to do it anyway after hours for your personal development. A lot can already be done and learned by coming in an hour earlier every morning or staying an hour later.
- Reverse mentoring
The concept of mentoring is well known and usually, this refers to a more senior employee mentoring young talent. However, have you ever thought about turning this concept around? Senior employees can convey a lot of leadership wisdom to young professionals, however, the youngest employees can probably teach some very unique skills to the more senior ones. The youngest generation in the workforce are digital natives and are much more tech-savvy than many other employees. Think about how many skills you can learn from these millennials!
You don´t have to be an expert at something to be able to teach others. In fact, you will probably become a specialist much faster if you are also teaching others. Teach others what you learn, and your own learning will be stronger for it. Having to teach others, you are basically forcing yourself to understand something at the required level thereby empowering your own learning process. If you have to explain to someone else, you will definitely get much more clarity on the points you might not have been clear on.
Writing about your speciality will give you a whole new skills set and will become known as an expert in your field. By starting your own blog or providing content to your company´s blog or known blogs in the industry, you will not only be strengthening your own learning process but you will also gain new skills like writing skills and how to best get your point across.
These are just some ideas to gain new skills outside of the formal training opportunities at your company, however, with a bit of creativity, you will find much more way to gain more skills. Some skills might at first sight not seem immediately related to your current job, but they will help you develop in a more well-rounded professional and will definitely contribute to your career´s success.
What are your favorite ways to gain new skills?