You graduated, now what? Ideas for continued self-improvement
When we’re still in college, we often think that learning ends once we have that diploma. While graduating from any degree program is a great accomplishment, it doesn’t mean your school days are at an end. If anything, it’s the beginning of a lifetime of learning and self-improvement. With today’s fast-changing job market and tight economy, working professionals should expect to work constantly on learning new skills, technologies and information to keep themselves marketable and relevant — not to mention well-balanced.
“Professional development is important regardless of your field,” says Anastasia Metros, PhD, who works in curriculum development for University of Phoenix and also teaches courses in the School of Advanced Studies. “Staying current in your field is imperative for many reasons, such as keeping your job skills and knowledge up to date and continuing to be marketable. You can keep current in your field by reading professional publications, attending conferences and participating in training.”
Staying current is especially important in down economies and tight job markets, according to Metros. “Especially with the economy the way it is, there are more people potentially competing for less jobs,” she says. Keeping your skills sharp and up to date can help give you an edge over the competition.
Mary Beth Hartleb, JD, is an independent human resources consultant with more than 20 years’ experience working with Fortune 500 companies, and she's also a faculty member at the University of Phoenix Las Vegas Campus, where she teaches courses in Business Management. According to Hartleb, there are many different ways working professionals can stay current and constantly improve their job skills. “Take classes, get certifications, volunteer or whatever else you need to do to move into the career of your choice,” she says. “Keep in mind that the learning process never ends. Keep your certifications current, join industry groups and always keep building your network.”