It’s a bit of a no brainer to say that taking a course will help you get further in your career – after all, why else would people shell out thousands on degrees or spending years working for minimum wage on an apprenticeship?
However, learning something new to help you get ahead at work or ace that interview doesn’t have to cost a fortune or take forever. In fact, some might just take half a day, or a couple of evenings in a month, yet the extra skills you gain could potentially be what get you that pay rise you’ve been after.
But where to start? What’s better? A generic course that will look good on your CV in any role? Or something specific to help you climb a defined career ladder? Unfortunately we can’t decide on that for you, but we have tried to explain your options below so that you can make an informed decision yourself on which one is best for you...
Join the technological revolution
Coding is the future – even children as young as eight are being taught how to write websites and computer software and if you work in any industry even remotely techy (and they all are a bit these days) a knowledge of programming languages will definitely help you get ahead. If that sounds just a bit too daunting but you still want to up your technology game, work out which software packages the role you’re after involves using and take a course to get clued up on it in advance of that promotion that will be coming your way.
Be the office swot
There’s always that one person people go to who just knows how to do everything on Microsoft Office – book a meeting room? No problem. Format your document into paragraphs? It’s done. This workplace wonderwoman/man soon becomes as indispensible as the coffee machine and if you want to be them, it’s time to do some training in the likes of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Present like a pro
There’s no avoiding it – most industries will require you give a presentation at some point. Whether it’s simply explaining to a new member of staff how some machinery works, pitching your company’s services to a potential customer, or explaining to your team what the goals are that week, you’ll have to talk in front of people. Learn to communicate effectively to large groups of people is sure to help you climb the career ladder but will also assist in your one to one interactions. If you don’t fancy taking a serious business themed course in communication or giving presentations, go for something like drama lessons or a comedy class which will equip you with the same skills in a more light hearted environment.
Meet with management
Whether people, projects or processes you want to manage, there will be a management course to suit your aspirations. You might want to look into what methods your company uses if you’re going for something like project management – PRINCE2 is very popular but there are others. If it’s people management you’re looking to study but you don’t actually manage any people yet, don’t be afraid to sign up. While you might not be able to relate to some of the stories, you’ll certainly learn a lot that will help you progress upwards and ensure you’re ready for the challenge of managing a team when it comes to it.
Or...just do something for fun
Many people think that if they’re taking a course, it has to be a serious one and underestimate how an evening course in something that might seem trivial and like you’re just partaking in a hobby or social event (wine tasting anyone?) can actually help you in the workplace and in your wider career. You’ll learn to communicate with people from all different backgrounds and mastering a skill will help you gain confidence more generally. The more ‘fun’ courses also provide you with a talking point with colleagues and even future employers at interviews.
Whatever you choose to do, there’s no denying that any course that increases your knowledge and gives you skills you didn’t have before will help make you not only a more rounded person but show you have initiative, are pro active and interested in expanding your horizons beyond what is expected of you. Good job you’re in the best place to start your search then! Best of luck!