6 Ways to Advance Your Career Without More School

No more schoolWhen Millennials feel trapped by their careers, they often turn back to their education. To them, it’s a comfort zone – a place they’ve known their entire life.

However, going back to school isn’t necessarily the best option for every Millennial looking to advance his or her career.

According to a new study by CareerBuilder, 53 percent of employers believe college graduates are focused more on book learning than gaining real world experience. Although there are some career paths requiring professionals to have at least an MBA, most industries desire professionals with more experience than an extensive education.

If you want to take your career to the next level, but want to avoid the cost of more education, here are six ways to advance your career without stepping foot into a classroom:

Take It Upon Yourself to Learn a New Skill

Who says you need to go back to school to learn a new skill? In fact, there are dozens of opportunities surrounding you each day to learn something new.

For example, say you’re a public relations professional and you’d like to learn web design. Connect with a web designer who’d be willing to coach you through the process. By doing this, you can make a new connection, learn your desired skill, and not worry about having to enroll in a pricey class.

If want to learn a new skill at your own pace, consider enrolling in an online course or two. Websites such as Lynda, Codecademy, MarketingProfs, and Udemy offer courses where you can take practically any type of class that fits your needs.

Attend an Industry Conference

Conferences are a great way to connect with professionals and employers in your field. These events provide attendees with the opportunity learn new skills, gain experience, and learn about the latest trends in their industry.

To discover professional conferences, check out professional organizations in your industry, Eventbrite, industry blogs, and social media.

Enroll in Workshops and Seminars

Workshops and seminars are also great tools for career advancement. Although workshops and seminars can become costly, they are much cheaper than enrolling at a university full-time. Job seekers can discover workshops by checking out local community education programs or through their membership with a professional organization.

Workshops and seminars are a simple way to learn new skills in a shorter period of time. You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with professionals and gain more knowledge about your field.

Make Connections in High Places

According to a Jobvite survey, four in 10 job seekers found their best job through a personal connection.

Begin networking with people who have careers that you want to have, and learn their secrets to success. This is a great way to gain genuine career advice and even open doors for yourself in your industry.

You can make new connections by networking with professionals on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+. It’s also a good idea to connect with professionals as you attend networking events, workshops, and conferences.

Read and Write Often

Reading and writing might seem like a throwback to college, however, these are two of the most important things you can do to keep your career moving forward.

Push yourself to stay up-to-date in the latest trends in your industry by reading books, trade journals, industry magazines and blogs, and popular news sites. You should also spend time blogging and guest blogging — writing for other sites under your byline — about your industry. Through reading and writing, you’ll be able to learn more about your field and improve your communication skills.

Start an Online Portfolio or Website

Employers are impressed by young professionals who have an established online presence and professional website. In fact, four out of five employers believe online portfolios are useful in evaluating a candidate’s skills and accomplishments.

There are a number of different platforms you can use to get your online portfolio started. Platforms such as WordPress, Weebly, and Blogger are easy-to-use options with pre-made templates for designing your blog.

As you can tell, there are many different ways to advance your career without having to step into a classroom. By following your career goals and listening to your needs, you’ll discover ways to advance your career without having to go back to school.

What ways are you advancing your career without more college?

 

For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at CareerShift!

 

Careershift

 

Val MattaVal Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.

 

Image courtesy of memecrunch. Thank you!

 

 

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  • Great advice! In each of these cases, I would add that creating a project to build connections and show off new skills is another great way to grow and advance a career. You can combine most of this advice into something you can point to as a finished product you imagined, created, and completed. That goes a long way!

    Thanks so much for this advice!

  • missphenom

    I would also recommend obtaining certification. I earn Project Management Professional (PMP) certification which has significant portability across numerous industries. I am able to change career fields with it.