Professional Development: The Learning Should Never Stop

learningTo Go…or Not to Go Back to School…That is the Question

In the midst of new hire paperwork, offer letters and signatures here and there, it’s pretty safe to bet that you probably didn’t have a lot of time to glance at the benefits your company offers you when you were first hired. We become so focused (rightfully so) on the day-to-day operational benefits like health insurance, 401(k) and whether or not Columbus Day counts as a paid day off, that sometimes we neglect to look into the benefits our companies offer to help us grow and develop as employees.

A peer of mine in the industry recently told me about an interview where the candidate asked when the training period in the new job would end. The manager’s reply? Never.

No matter how seasoned you are in your role, the learning should never stop. It’s very easy to focus on the given tasks each day without spending the time, money or effort investing in our professional growth. Here are a few ways to stay focused on the task at hand while adding to your bank of knowledge.

1)    Reach out to HR or Your Manager. They helped to put the benefits in place and would love to talk about them. I think sometimes when an employee thinks of “tuition reimbursement” they think that it means that a whole degree needs to be completed. While many do, there are many options to continue learning without pursuing a 2 year program. Ease back into the process of studying by enrolling in one course that’s applicable to your line of work. Tuition reimbursement also typically covers the costs of seminars, trainings, workshops and networking events. These are other great resources to network with your peers in the industry and continue staying “sharp” on current industry trends.

2)   If you’re invited…attend! Many times employees are hesitant to attend workshops or seminars that their managers have signed them up for. Attending these events is a great way to implement what you’ve learned at your desk, within your group or department. Be motivated to recommend trainings or seminars to your manager that could be beneficial to you and your team.

3)   Let Every Day Be a New Learning Opportunity. When speaking to candidates, I often hear that there isn’t a “specific certification” for their industry. While that may be true, it doesn’t mean that learning has to stop. Many industries and professions have newsletters, publications, blogs, and LinkedIn groups. These are valuable resources that often cost very little and minimize time out of the office while still keeping you current in your industry.

Learning can be fun – especially in a group. Currently at DAVIS, we have a study group for a certification course. We’re able to bounce ideas off of each other and rally together to prepare for the exam. Is there a certification or class that you’ve been thinking of attending? Let us know!

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