Professional training is often done as a group or at least under the guidance of an employer but this doesn't have to be the way. Self-training allows you to have more autonomy over your development, giving you complete control over where, when and how you learn.
Taking it upon yourself to expand your skill set can itself be an impressive quality, whether you are looking to secure a new position or make the case for a pay rise with your current employer.
Here are four self-training tips that will help you get to the next level in your career:
1. Involve yourself in online courses
The beauty of online courses is that your learning is completely within your control. You can choose exactly what you want to teach yourself and how quickly you want to get through it. This means that otherwise wasted time, such as on the commute, before you go to bed, or while you're making dinner, can be used as self-development time. There's also a much wider range of topics in online courses compared to in-classroom learning. This means you can find something that really interests you, brush up on a specific skill or try something new.
2. CPD hours
Whether an initiative embraced by your employer or not, many companies recognize continual professional development (CPD) as an impressive quality in potential candidates. You can use platforms to track the amount of hours spent on reading articles or watching videos related to your profession. Much like online courses, CPD is an easy way to monitor your personal development via an independent body.
3. Informal networking
Networking doesn't have to be only for those looking for a job. Informal networking allows you to meet with professionals who you can share your experience and knowledge with and vice versa. This is a relaxed way of self-training but can be incredibly worthwhile.
Industry events can be a great place to informally meet with other like-minded professionals, but is often dependent on where you live and what time you can get off work. LinkedIn, on the other hand, enables people around the world to meet with industry experts no matter where they are. This means you can reach out and chat to world-class professionals, read articles they share or research topics that they are keyed into.
4. Start a mentor program
Mentoring can be a fantastic way to develop your skills. Whether you're the mentor or mentee - or both - sharing expertise with another professional can be an effective way to learn. For mentors, teaching someone else can help you analyze your approach and potentially improve yourself, while also upskilling another person. Mentees, in contrast, can learn from the experience and knowledge of someone who is more experienced or simply has a different perspective to them.