When it comes to self-improvement, we know a lot of methods. To get fit, you eat right and exercise. To grow in physical strength, you train and lift weights. To improve your memory, you get enough sleep and intentionally learn new things.
But what can you do to improve and grow in your career?
Regardless of where you’re at—whether you’re a senior manager or an entry-level employee on the front lines—you can continue to grow and advance your career and professional goals.
And higher education gives you the shoes to take that next step.
A Forbes article by Jacquelyn Smith states that many adults return to school to enhance their career. The article cites author Laura Vanderkamp in saying that many believe “additional education will help them achieve their career goals, like making more money, advancing in their current occupation, or starting in a different one.”
Additionally, the article mentions from career coach Nancy Collamer that most return to school “to bolster their range of marketable skills and credentials, which, in turn, makes them more competitive—both at their current employer and in the overall job market.”
And, according to 2014 Pew Research, college graduates ages 25-32 earn $17,000 more each year than those with just a high school diploma.
Education is an influential step in staying competitive and enhancing your skills. Whether you’re starting out in your career or returning to continue to build upon your years of experience, pursuing educational training helps you keep moving forward.
Here, we share five reasons why pursuing education can advance your career at any level.
1) GAIN KNOWLEDGE
This reason may be a given. When you pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree, you’re equipped with practical skills and knowledge that you can apply to your workplace. For example, in a business administration degree program, you’ll learn best practices in accounting to understand the financial aspects of your work. In a management program, you’ll learn leadership principles and how to deal with conflict.
This knowledge can be both factual and practical. This means that the information you learn is not just interesting to know but will be of great use in your current role and to where you hope to go.
And just because you’ve reached a high-level management position doesn’t mean you should stop learning. Undergraduate and graduate degrees can help build upon your experience and broaden your skillset.
2) ENHANCE YOUR SOFT SKILLS
When you return to school, you learn far more than just different management styles or how to create an influential presentation. You also learn more subtle, but equally important, skills.
These so-called “soft skills” include strong abilities in areas like communication, teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving. Each of these talents can add value to your organization, wherever you are. And, such skills can give you the experience to be prepared and equipped to take that next step toward achieving your goals.
3) DEMONSTRATE A STRONG WORK ETHIC
Pursuing education in addition to your normal work routine will most likely not make your schedule easier. It takes work and determination to achieve a degree. But doing so will demonstrate a strong work ethic to your team and your supervisors.
In an article from Six Sigma Online at Aveta Business Institute, the author notes the positive message continuing your education sends:
Education is always something that supervisors and business executives like to see. When their employees have the drive and initiative to expand their knowledge, it is a good sign that they will be able to benefit the company further.
Demonstrating a strong work ethic and a commitment to your goals gives management hope that you can continue to be successful in your work environment. And, if you’re already in management, a committed and dedicated attitude sets an example for your co-workers and your direct reports.
4) BOOST YOUR CONFIDENCE FOR SUCCESS
When you earn a degree, you accomplish a big step. You gain knowledge, skills and experience to help you both in your career and in life in general. On top of that, by gaining additional skills in communication and problem solving and achieving your goals, you can also increase your confidence.
And studies have shown that greater confidence leads to greater career advancement.
According to a study from the University of Melbourne cited in an article from Science Daily, there’s a strong correlation between confidence and success. In the study, participants ranked their confidence at various education levels, and findings showed that those who reported higher confidence levels earlier on earned better wages and were promoted quicker.
5) GROW YOUR SOCIAL NETWORK
No, we’re not talking about adding more friends on Facebook. In a classroom setting, you have the opportunity to interact and meet with fellow students who may come from a variety of professional backgrounds.
In being exposed to a broader professional network through continuing your education, you can get to know people who may be in similar situations as you or have been in the spot you’re in and have continued to advance their career.
Your network, grown through earning a degree, can be a wealth of insight and information as you advance your own career.
Grow your career through education
To grow your physical strength, you need to train and work at exercising and lifting weights. To grow in your career, you’ve got to put in the work to deepen your knowledge, gain skills and develop a network that will help you take that next step toward where you want to be.
Whether you’re a seasoned manager or new entry-level employee, a degree from Cornerstone University can help you take that step. Check out our degree programs to discover the path that can equip you to achieve your goals.