Hit Refresh! Use education to take your career to the next level

Boost your resumé by updating your credentials, supplementing your qualifications or even learning new skills.

It’s not just your computer software that needs constant upgrading. If you’re not learning, you run the risk of plateauing in your career — or, worse, becoming obsolete. Whether you’re hoping for a promotion with your current employer, looking for a stimulating new job or wanting to gain skills to help you step up to the next level on your career path, education can empower those changes.

Here are some learning opportunities to keep you on top of your game:

Take an online course
Online education through colleges or universities can provide an ideal alternative for degree-oriented learning, especially for individuals and entrepreneurs unable to make it to a campus on a regular basis. In addition to being cost-effective, it can be done at a time and location convenient for you — so the time-strapped can schedule sessions at their desks over lunch or weekend intensives.

Online learning is also a great way to supplement your skills. Check out job listings for positions you’re aspiring to — do you have all the requirements they’re looking for? For example, are your technical and IT capabilities up to date? If not, a web-based seminar might be the best solution. It’s also a great way to brush up on subjects such as coding or WordPress.

Research learning opportunities in the community
From Lunch & Learns at your local chamber of commerce to public conferences at institutes of higher education, there are always occasions for expanding your knowledge. While these events won’t add professional credentials to your C.V., some conferences can be added to your resumé and also provide excellent opportunities for networking and meeting potential employers. These forums often provide experts on interviewing, negotiating or social media skills — capabilities that can add to your professional development.

Consider continuing education
While continuing-education classes are often taught at colleges or universities, these courses tend to concentrate on career specializations rather than a degree curriculum. These professional-development classes can be the ideal way to build skills you don’t have the opportunity to practice during a regular workday. In addition, many schools offer certificate programs that can enhance your skills, increase your industry connections and boost your resumé. These can cover a broad range of industries, from communications to human resources to project management to economics.

Invest in getting your Master’s Degree
A postgraduate or master’s can give you a definite edge over your employment competition. But you need to have a clear view of why you are doing it and what you hope to achieve from an advanced degree before you begin. If it is for career advancement, be sure to focus on a program that is highly relevant to your industry and will leave you with better skills. Consider getting in touch with a specialist recruiter or an industry employer to see what they think of the degree before you commit to the time and money.