Those people who develop the ability to continuously acquire new and better forms of knowledge that they can apply to their work and to their lives will be the movers and shakers in our society for the indefinite future.
As a university student, or recent graduate, it may seem strange to think about engaging in even more learning, but lifelong learning is not just a catchphrase. It truly is important to, as noted in the opening quote, “continuously acquire new and better forms of knowledge.”
This, of course, does not have to be formal learning but, instead, any learning that you may engage in as you grow your career. Even learning not related to your current occupational role can be beneficial, helping you grow, embrace new and different or emerging viewpoints, expand your personal and professional network, and remain open to change. Any learning event may even begin to forge a new career path… the possibilities are endless.
Within the specific context of managing your career, there is a myriad of ways to truly embrace lifelong learning.
Here are a few ways to embrace lifelong learning to get you started.
From workshops and webinars to networking events and online groups, many professional associations offer an array of learning opportunities for members, making it easy to stay current. There is a professional association for almost every occupation, making it easy to stay connected with others in your field. However, if you can’t find one that seems to fit, consider engaging with your local Chamber of Commerce.
From peer reviewed academic publications to industry trade journals and blogs, keep current with trends and new technologies, best practices in your field, local and global labour market information, and a plethora of other information simply by taking time to read.
Know who in your field is at the leading edge, doing interesting work, or making a difference. Follow them on social media, read their publications, and pay attention to, in turn, who they are reading and following.
Some occupations (e.g., doctors engineers, nurses) require a formal credential or license to practice. Others have credentials that are not required but are desirable, even being used as a minimum hiring standard by employers. In either instance, earning an industry credential is a great way to expand your knowledge and, ongoing engagement in professional activities, a great “excuse” to keep learning and expanding your skills and knowledge.
Many occupations have regular conferences, giving you an opportunity to explore new ideas, learn new theories, be introduced to new practices, and expand your network. Even better, consider speaking at conferences or co-presenting with a mentor.
Whether through YouTube, LinkedIn Learning, or various MOOCS, there are endless opportunities to enhance your skills through self-paced, independent learning. And the topics available to you are endless!
Various business associations, Chambers of Commerce, and professional associations often host regular networking events. Toastmasters remains a fantastic opportunity for networking, while also developing important presentation skills. Rather than focusing on the number of business cards collected, strive to have a couple of meaningful conversations.
Learning is a window into new possibilities, and when you build it into your life as a practice, you will naturally crave more of it, opening the world to you in ways that you never dreamed possible.