Like many other post-secondary students, I couldn’t wait to graduate and start my career in the real world. It wasn’t until I actually graduated and found a job in my field that I realized how much I enjoyed school. More specifically how much I enjoyed learning new things. I now find myself picturing a life in which I could continuously go back to school and pursue various degrees and certificates. However, as nice as that fantasy might sound, it isn’t exactly a practical career path.
While working a rewarding job and becoming a contributing member of the society is something we find ourselves wanting at one point or another, the pursuit of knowledge doesn’t have to end when you flip that graduation cap tassel over. Finding new and experiential opportunities to learn is something we should embrace and even go as far as to seek it out.
I decided in post-secondary that I would pursue a career in communications. I was a talented writer with a journalism diploma under my belt and an overall desire to communicate. In my mind, I was well underway to my goal but to my surprise, I wasn’t getting any interviews. To drown out my sorrows I scrolled through Instagram to get a quick meme fix. After a few laughs, I noticed a sponsored post for an online educational tool made up of hundreds of videos for people who want to learn through doing.
The topics ranged from “Introduction to Social Media Strategy” to basics such as “How to Create Vector Icons In Illustrator”. I was tempted to scroll through until I noticed they were offering a two-month free trial. I decided to give it a shot to boost my portfolio in hopes that it would set me apart from other interview candidates.
I can now say with complete assurance that the skills I learned in those classes helped move my career forward.
If you’re serious about advancing your skills and giving yourself an edge in the job market, I would suggest to use your free time wisely and see what options are out there. Learning can take on many different forms, such as:
Taking up a hobby
Have you been considering learning how to knit? Or even learning how to play an instrument? These things are nothing to scoff at as they teach you discipline and follow-through. There are also cost-efficient ways to do this, such as purchasing materials and items second-hand and asking someone you know that practices a hobby to teach you.
Reading a new book every month
You may not feel like you have the time to read, but it has so many benefits. Pick up a recommended read from your local bookstore, or save some money and get a library card. Reading isn’t just a break from reality, but a good way to open your mind to new perspectives. You could even join a book club and meet new people, which will allow you to develop your communications and interpersonal skills!
Helping out in your community is not only a good way to learn new skills but a valuable gift you can pay forward to someone in need. Contact your local soup kitchen, or head over to an animal shelter – some even offer cat cuddling as a volunteer option! If you’re looking for simple ways to start giving back, check out volunteer positions on TalentEgg’s website.
For more information on how volunteering can help your career, click here.
If you would like to pursue the classes route, maybe consider an in-person class at your local library or community centre. My library offers coding classes for people wanting to improve their HTML skills, which in today’s job market is a valuable skill to put on a resume. There are plenty of online options as well, that work within your schedule.
No matter how you look at it, there are numerous ways to continue learning. Use these as a starting point to do your own research and see what’s out there, you’d be surprised at how much you can gain from small steps towards advancing your career.