The lifelong learner: Why it’s vital to stay educated
Many people, once they know how to do their job, figure the learning is done and just go about their day-to-day work. This is a huge mistake. An employee has to think not only about today but about tomorrow as well. Their job is very likely going to be different in a year than it is today and even more different five years after that. As a professional, they not only have to their career, but they must prepare for these inevitable changes through constant education and development. If they don’t, they will get left behind.
Here are some ways to keep learning in the workplace:
Stay up to date on the profession
Join and participate in professional associations. There are thousands of these groups, and depending on the exact industry and expertise, there may be several from which to choose. If a professional can join in person, that’s great. Otherwise, they follow them on social media, or through their website or newsletter. They are often aware of “what’s next” in an industry and can help an employee prepare for new changes or developments in their field.
Learn what’s next and prepare for it
Perhaps someone is in HR and there’s a new technology that companies are beginning to roll out. They can assume that, eventually, the company will probably do the same or do something similar. They can take the initiative to begin learning about that technology, becoming familiar with it, read up on it, and maybe even practice with it if they have the opportunity. When it finally does roll around, this professional will be ahead of the game.
Or maybe a person is in training and development, and there’s a lot of research being done about a particular way of conducting trainings that increases learner retention. They should start practicing that particular way of doing it, learning more about it and even incorporating it into their process.
Taking these steps to become aware of changes that are coming, and adjusting to those changes is a wonderful way to remain relevant and in control of a career.
Follow industry news
Every industry has an array of news sources that provide content related to what’s next, what’s new, what’s important, and so on. That knowledge can help an employee stay abreast of new and interesting things in his or her field. They can follow the top companies in their industry, their own company and the competition. They can follow them on social media, check out their websites and see what they are talking about. Doing this will help a person learn and gain skills in the right areas.
Lifelong learning helps manage a career and a job search
Being a lifelong learner is crucial not only to remain relevant when someone has a job, but when they’re trying to find a new job as well. One of the top things employers look for is professionals who are really engaged in their jobs and willing to learn and adjust. When an employee has had had a job for a while, they learn a way of doing things. They can get set in their ways. A new company is going to do things differently.
By being a lifelong learner and demonstrating that through their resume, their social media profile and their interview answers, professionals send the message to potential new employers that they are someone who’s flexible and committed.