Advance Your Career

If you are filled with passion for an industry and want to secure many promotions throughout the years, you are likely eager to increase your skillset. Rather than wasting the year ahead, make it your mission to increase your knowledge, gain more experience, and enhance your resume.

If you want to exceed your expectations, you cannot afford to sit back and wait for someone to offer you a promotion. Take your career into your own hands by aiming to learn new skills in 2021. Keep reading for inspiration.

Learn from Professionals You Admire

Your leadership style, demeanor, or attitude could ensure your success or hold you back in your career. To flourish in a role, you would be wise to analyze and learn from professionals you admire in your workplace or industry. 

For example, if you respect your current line manager, ask yourself why. Maybe they treat people fairly, lead by example, or adopt a friendly, helpful attitude. You could then aim to adopt a similar leadership style and approach to work, which could grab an employer’s attention and lead to a promotion.

You can learn from professionals in almost any industry. For instance, writers could read other authors’ works for inspiration, or a registered nurse could monitor an experienced family nurse practitioner’s leadership style.

Practice Makes Perfect

Every hardworking professional will have strengths and weaknesses. Rather than allowing the shortcoming to stifle your career aspirations, aim to practice the challenging tasks to turn them into a strength.

It might help to practice a weakness in your spare time to identify where you are going wrong or improve your technique. For example, if you work in digital marketing, you might have a firm understanding of the importance of content marketing, but you might be unsure how to launch engaging social media campaigns. If so, you could benefit from reading industry articles, familiarizing yourself with different platforms, and monitoring the competition to learn clever tactics.

Enroll in an Online Program

If you feel ready to take your career to the next level, you could change your working life by enrolling in an online course. For example, if you are a registered nurse with a BSN from an accredited school of nursing, you could earn a DNP degree online to become a family nurse practitioner. The flexible course has been designed to match a hardworking professional’s schedule. It can, therefore, make it easier to boost your skills and advance in your career.

Teach Others Your New Skill

It might surprise you to learn that teaching your new skill to others could help you retain information and improve your understanding. When you learn a topic or skill intending to teach it to others, you are more likely to break it down into simple chunks. Plus, you might examine the new topic both thoroughly and critically, which can improve your knowledge. So, learn a new skill to teach it to your colleagues or publish an informative blog or vlog on the subject. It could turn the skill into a big career strength.

Find a Knowledgeable Mentor

A knowledgeable mentor could provide more insight on a subject than any textbook or video. If you do not know how to complete a task or improve your qualifications, they might have the skills and experience to point you in the right direction. They might have also made various mistakes throughout the years that you can learn from in your career. It could help you to navigate a complex industry with ease, improve your skills, and climb the ladder at a quick rate.

Work on Your Public Speaking Skills

Many professionals will need to present to a large group or audience at some point in their careers. For example, a marketer might need to pitch a campaign to a client, or a professor will need to produce engaging lectures for students regularly. 

If the thought of public speaking fills you with dread, or you believe it is holding you back in your career, you must aim to improve your presentation skills. For example, you could take a public speaking class to work on your delivery and of talking to a small or large audience. You could also work on your body language, practice a presentation at home, or watch a recording of your upcoming speech.

Ask Others for Honest Feedback

You will only be able to improve your skills if you know where you are going right and wrong in your career. If your colleagues are moving onto senior positions and are often overlooked for various job opportunities, you should ask your manager, colleagues, and loved ones for feedback.

As they might know you well and understand your working style, they might be in the best position to provide honest, helpful advice. For example, they might believe your poor communication style or experience gaps might be holding you back. Once you have identified your shortcomings, you can take the appropriate steps to improve your skills and flourish in your career.

Join a Webinar

Learn new skills from the comfort of your own home by joining one of the many fantastic webinars available online. If you have a laptop or phone with an internet connection, you could boost your knowledge at the click of a button. 

Tuning into a live stream could improve your understanding of a topic, platform, or strategy from industry thought leaders and inspirational speakers. Plus, online attendees will often have an opportunity to ask an expert a question, which could provide a unique and valuable insight into a topic. You can then apply your newfound knowledge to your career.

Learn a New Language

If you would like to expand your skillset, stand apart from the competition in the job market, and become an asset to a business, you should master another tongue. Learning a new language will never be a waste of your time. Almost every business will want to hire multilingual employees, as they could improve their communication, reputation, and efficiency. However, you would be wise to learn a commonly used language to enhance your job prospects, such as:

  • Spanish
  • French
  • German
  • Mandarin Chinese

If you’re looking to take your career to new heights, consider the power of travel combined with learning a new language. Imagine immersing yourself in a vibrant city, embracing its culture, while also gaining valuable language skills. Whether you choose to learn German in Birmingham or Spanish in Barcelona, or any other language and location you’re passionate about, this experience can be a game-changer for your professional journey.

Imagine attending meetings with international partners, effortlessly conversing in their native tongue, and building strong connections that transcend language barriers. Learning a commonly used language, such as Spanish, French, German, or Mandarin Chinese, can greatly enhance your job prospects in a wide range of industries.

Improve Your Tech Knowledge

Technology is impacting every industry across the world. If you have a firm grasp of the different tools and platforms available, you can remain current in your industry and impress others with your tech knowledge. It could help you make software or hardware recommendations in your role and gain a comprehensive understanding of your sector, which could impress an employer. For example, if you have a career in healthcare, you should learn as much as possible about telemedicine, AI, wearable technology, and robotics.

Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

If you are ready to embrace a new career or enter a different industry, you might need to work on your transferable skills in 2021. For example, most employers are looking for employees with the following abilities:

  • Good leadership
  • Strong communication skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Organization
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Time management

If you have not mastered any of the above, look for ways to sharpen your transferable skills in your spare time and role. For example, you could pitch creative ideas to your employer, tweak your communication style, or learn how to delegate tasks in the workplace.

Grow Your Professional Network

Forming relationships with experienced professionals in your industry could help you learn new skills, identify new strategies, and discover the best technologies. Plus, connecting with others could lead to you securing a new job or receiving advice on how to improve your career prospects. 

If you have not taken the time to expand your professional network, aim to build strong relationships with professionals of all levels inside and outside of your industry in 2021. Networking could make you a more knowledgeable, well-rounded, and well-connected employee, helping you become a business asset.

If you are unsure how to network, you could:

  • Develop a professional presence on LinkedIn and Twitter
  • Attend industry events and conferences
  • Cold email professionals and invite them for a coffee
  • Reach out to old colleagues

You could even launch a networking coffee morning and invite professionals from across your industry, which will allow you to mix with others, learn from their experience, and even find a new career path in 2021.

Focus on Continual Learning

If you are serious about climbing the career ladder, you must focus on continual learning to master your craft. Read the latest industry articles and research studies, listen to podcasts, pick up textbooks, monitor your industry rivals, and learn from your mistakes. It will not only feed into your performance, but it could increase confidence in your opinions and ability. As a result, you will be more likely to speak up during brainstorming sessions, make suggestions to your employer, or apply for a senior position.

Understand Your Learning Style

Absorb information at a faster rate by identifying your learning style. For example, some people can retain facts by reading books, while others might prefer to watch a video or look at an informative graphic. Consider some of your past learning experiences to identify your studying strengths. 

For example, did you flourish in an exam by cramming the books in a quiet environment, or did you gain a firmer understanding of a subject after talking to your professor or watching an interesting demonstration? It could help you to identify the best learning environment to excel in your career.

Set Realistic Goals

Whatever skill you attempt to master in 2021, you must ensure it is realistic. For example, if you want to learn a new language, it will require much commitment, time, and effort. Do not make the mistake of believing that working hard at something equals a lack of ability, as this is not the case. Mastering a challenging task will require dedication, and you must set realistic goals to ensure you are not tempted to give up along the way. 

Remember to be patient with yourself. Learning a new skill will not happen overnight, and you might experience many obstacles or mistakes along the way. However, a little perseverance and a thick skin could help you to reach your goals and improve your employability.

Focus on One Skill at a Time

It is essential to focus on mastering one skill at a time to maintain your dedication and focus. For example, you might find it mentally draining to earn a DNP degree while attempting to master a second language. Instead, prioritize the skills you want to develop and focus on ticking them off your to-do list one-by-one.

Follow the 20-Hour Rule

Follow John Kaufman’s 20-hour rule when attempting to master a new skill. The author recommends people dedicate at least 20 hours to mastering a skill. As many people often hit a wall at the start of the learning stage, he believes committing to a minimum of 20 hours will help people push through this wall. So, time yourself when mastering a new technique or subject and do not quit until you have reached 20 hours. Once you have hit that limit, you might not want to waste all the time and effort you have put in, and you might even have a firmer grasp on the subject matter.


In today’s fast-paced world, you need to be more than smart to flourish in a role. You must constantly learn new skills to stand apart from your colleagues and secure promotion after promotion. It does not matter if you want to climb the corporate ladder or enjoy great achievements in healthcare, you must be willing to work hard to enjoy success in your chosen sector. 

Boosting your earning potential and establishing yourself as a business asset can be no easy feat, and you must aim to improve your resume year after year. To improve your career prospects in 2021, consider enrolling in an online degree program, learning a new language, or finding an experienced mentor for advice and guidance.

author avatar
Mithilesh Singh is a digital marketing consultant, blogger, and founder of Stock News Analysis