6 Tricks to Staying Relevant and Valuable at Work

When you find yourself reaching a plateau at work, it's time to aim higher. To keep your career on an upward trajectory, you need to do more than the bare minimum and take professional development into your own hands.

There's never been a more important time to prioritise continuous education. We are living in a digital age where more and more jobs are being automated with the help of machines. New technologies are transforming the way the world works. While our lives are being made simpler by the minute, the demand for people who are tech-savvy and computer-literate is growing rapidly. To maintain your competitive edge in the jobs market, you need to work at staying relevant.

Whether the end goal is a promotion, bigger bonus, positive midyear review or a salary increase, we've compiled 6 ways to help you reach your goal:

1. Study an online course

Take a modular approach to your learning by identifying gaps in your knowledge and filling them with a free online course. Massive Open Online Courses known as MOOCs are available at no cost to you, but for a small price, you can add an official certification. Not only can you access industry-leading information at your fingertips, but these courses also allow you to collaborate with other students and get involved in group discussions to enhance your learning.

Whether you want to learn how to master Excel, try your hand at project management or simply recap on basic grammar, there'll be something out there for you. Try browsing through your favourite topics on DIYGenius or EDX, or head straight over to the Khan Academy to register.

2. Complete a new qualification

If you've got a bit more time on your hands, you could look at completing an official qualification. A lot of universities offer online versions of degrees, as well as part-time evening and weekend classes to cater for full time workers. If it's a change of career you're looking for or a hefty increase in salary, becoming qualified in something new will add to your CV and open doors. If the skills you hope to gain will benefit your current business, you might even find your employer will sponsor you!

3. Embrace social media

Social media continues to grow as a powerful communication tool. In a world driven by digitisation, the importance of having a professional social media presence is extremely important. Both individuals and organisations have to market themselves in a favourable way, to attract positive attention from the right audiences. Platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are extremely valuable tools for marketing, advertising and recruitment, and are transforming all industries in some way. Try getting involved with your company's social media presence. The skills you develop as you learn to navigate your way around the world wide web are hugely valuable in the workforce, irrespective of industry.

4. Read a book

In the wise words of Dr. Seuss, "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."

As the weather warms up, why not utilise your lunch break to get some fresh air and dive into a good book? Head to your local library and borrow a book or two on a topic that interests you. If you want to take a break from academic topics, try opting for an autobiography or something motivational to help you relax. These types of books might even offer you a brand new perspective on things, while giving you a break from your bright LED screen. If you return your books on time, borrowing from the library won't cost you anything. If carrying paperbacks around is unrealistic, invest in a Kindle eReader instead. The small portable devices can be loaded with books and are great for when you're on-the-go!

5. Attend an industry event

Keep your finger on the pulse by signing up for events and forums relevant to your line of work. Not only will having a presence at these events help you build your knowledge base, but they are also excellent for networking and great for opening up new opportunities. If physically attending events outside of work hours is tough, sign up for webinars on topics you're curious about. These interactive presentations are great for information sharing and will allow you to engage with industry experts and ask questions in real time.

6. Utilise your internal network

Take a step back from your job and look who is around you. If you are working for a successful company, you are likely surrounded by experienced professionals who hold a wealth of knowledge. Ask your peers for one-on-one time with them; proactively seek their help and advice. People are generally happy to help eager people, you just need to ask! Attending internal committee meetings and getting involved in extracurricular social activities will help you develop relationships with people across your organisation. This is a great way to increase your internal profile, soak up information and be taken seriously as a rising star!

As Socrates once said, ''Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.'' As long as you keep on learning, you will keep moving forward. Don't just sit there, go and make things happen!


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