5 ways to add to your job skills – without going back to school

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Jan 18

Adding job skills to your toolset may be much easier than you think. Achieving new job skills without heading back to the classroom, saving you time and money.

For many professionals currently in the workforce, getting time off to expand the ever-important toolset can be challenging. However, there are plenty of places to turn when it comes to building powerful new skills.

“Learning enables adaptability, and in today’s day and age, adaptability is a competitive advantage,” says Jeff Boss of Forbes. “Adaptability keeps you fresh.”

Adding new skills to your toolset may be as easy as discussing training with your current manager. Or you may find that obtaining skills out of the office is easier.

The following five ways to add job skills to your toolset without going back to school will save you valuable time and money.

  1. Start with Company Sponsored Learning

Before you begin browsing the internet to find ways to add job skills to your toolset, look into company sponsored learning first.

According to a survey by CareerBuilder involving over 2,000 HR managers, 70 percent of companies offer in-house training. These company sponsored learning programs cover courses from data analytics to PR.

Most of the company sponsored courses are also available via online platforms. This allows you to take classes whenever you want, from anywhere, and at your own pace.

  1. Look Into Certification Programs

In many cases, HR recruiters and hiring managers may want to see job skills backed by certifications. This is especially important in the tech industry.

The CareerBuilder survey noted that companies would pay for at least a portion of the training and certification you get out of the office.

It is essential to show your manager the value of the course you wish to take.

If you can give them a clear picture as to how those new job skills will benefit your toolset and the company’s, you can easily leverage tuition assistance.

  1. Take Online Classes

Don’t count out online classes, even if going back to school is simply out of the question. There are multiple online learning platforms that host a variety of courses you can learn at your own pace.

From programming to business, online classes are perfect for busy professionals to add new job skills to their toolset without going back to school.

“Whether you're a small business, an entrepreneur, a student or an employee, learning skills online can provide you with epic advantages,” says R. L. Adams of Forbes.

In fact, Adams identified core skills that are among the top creative careers on the rise. And he noted that those skills would assist everyone, regardless of capacity.

  1. Volunteering Offers Skill Building Benefits

The time spent volunteering may hinder your personal life, but it has powerful returns when it comes to your professional goals.

“Volunteering can be a positive way to get training in areas your current or past jobs didn't provide,” suggests Amy Neumann of Monster. “If you need some additional experience for a particular job or promotion, there are many options.”

The key is to get involved in on-the-job situations that allow you to get hands on experience and see how these new job skills are applied in real-time.

Negotiations are an excellent example of a job skill you can utilize in any career.

Volunteering to be involved in negotiation prep and simply being a fly on the wall during the negotiation process can prove valuable to your toolset.

  1. Find a Mentor

 If you want to add job skills to your toolset without going back to school, find a mentor. Mentors can give you the higher-echelon of skills you need to achieve your goals.

Some companies have a mentorship program. However, a mentor outside your office could prove to be more valuable.

"A mentor outside will help you with a broader perspective on your profession," Deb Cohen, senior VP at the Society for Human Resource Management told The Wall Street Journal.

Building new job skills is certainly vital to your career. Whether getting a promotion, or simply staying ahead of the ever-changing industry climate, adding skills to your toolset will give you a powerful competitive edge.


Vera Marie Reed is freelance writer living in Glendale, California. This mother of two specializes in education and parenting content. When she’s not delivering expert advice, you can find her reading, writing, arts, going to museums and doing craft projects with her children.

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.