At some point in your career, you’re probably going to want a promotion. Fresh challenges, different kinds of projects, new clients, new coworkers — and don’t forget, more money — can be powerful motivating factors.
But, how will you get there? Often the answer is adding more skills to your resume, but going back to school doesn’t come cheap. The good news is that there are other options.
Here are some tips for improving your skills and getting that promotion you crave, without shelling out the big bucks for more education:
- Your Boss
If you want to start working toward a promotion, a great place to start is a conversation with your boss. Be frank about your goals and about your qualifications, and inquire about what steps you should take to work toward your aims. If another degree is the bottom line, then it’s good for you to know that. But, chances are that your boss will have some other suggestions, too. Maybe the company will pay for a professional development workshop or online training course.
Even if the company won’t pay for training, it’s important to know which skills or degrees are most valuable to them. If you’re looking to advance your career, speaking with the people who actually have the authority to make that happen is an important place to start.
- Free Online Resources and Skills Training
One thing that holds back potential returning students is the immense time commitment that comes with the pursuit of a degree. Once you’ve entered the working world, it can be pretty tough to imagine spending your evenings in class or your weekends writing papers. If you have children to care for, this idea could feel downright impossible. But, these days, there are so many other options to consider.
Online learning and degree programs, professional development workshops and workshop series, and MOOCs have made it possible for so many people to return to school, or at least to class. So, look around and see if any opportunities are available that would work with your schedule. Going to school isn’t quite what it used to be.
- The Right Mentor
Finding the right mentor can do wonders for your career. But remember, mentor relationships don’t have to be formal to get the job done. Instead, focus on finding someone who knows the things you want to know and who has the job you’re aiming for. Since you’re hoping to advance within your organization, this should be easy enough to do. Talk to some of the people who work at the level you’re aiming for, and start getting to know them and letting them get to know you. Working with a mentor could be your most valuable resource in the long run. There is no substitute for practical wisdom.
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