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  • How Being a Lifelong Learner Will Boost Your Career

    Technology and industrial practices are continually evolving, so why should your education end the moment you walk across the stage and grab your diploma? Continuing to learn in the years following college can accelerate your career and separate you as an industry leader. Here’s why it’s important to keep your natural curiosity alive even outside of the workplace!

    You’ll Earn More Money

    More education translates to more money. On average, college graduates with a bachelor’s degree earn nearly half a million dollars more in their careers than those with just a high school diploma. That doesn’t mean you need to sign up for graduate school or an MBA program to reap more benefits. Educational opportunities come in all forms, including personal development courses, podcasts, books, seminars and webinars.

    Learning doesn’t need to be expensive, either. While a degree can cost upwards of $100,000 over the course of four years, many podcasts are free. Multiple companies also offer educational dollars that can be used for attending conferences or purchasing extra educational materials. Some workplaces keep past material on hand in libraries or online sites. Check in with your employer to see what they have on hand or if they’d be willing to cover the expenses for your next learning endeavor.

    Even if your workplace doesn’t offer these kinds of opportunities, just getting the conversation started can be hugely beneficial. On one hand, most employers will be impressed by an employee looking to grow their industry knowledge on their off hours.

    Additionally, perhaps you will be the one to get something new started in your workplace! Wouldn’t it be cool to be the employee to lay a groundwork for outside learning opportunities at your company? Not only do you possibly have a chance to benefit your fellow employees and your company’s success, but you’ll also always get to hold the esteem of being the one to establish something new and dare to be a trailblazer!

    You’ll Be Healthier

    Expanding your knowledge base can make you a healthier person. Studies show reading can lower stress levels, even if you only read for a short period. High levels of stress are linked to weight gain, high blood pressure and anxiety. Reducing your stress levels will make you more relaxed and help you maintain a clear mind when facing challenging situations. Stimulating your brain can also help put your life into perspective, which in turn can lower feelings of anxiety and help you feel calmer.

    Learning can make you a happier person. Healthier and happier people tend to be more productive. Along with increased productivity, you’ll also feel more secure in your job. By establishing yourself as a curious, dedicated employee, your employer will be less likely to consider you for a layoff. As you learn more skills, you can make yourself essential to the organization — and that promotes more job security. This is another reason to be happy.

    You’ll Be an Industry Leader

    Technology is constantly changing. Industries are taking advantage of this and quickly evolving. Take a hard look at your field. How were they doing things 20 years ago? In all likelihood, employees used technology you might be unfamiliar with or processes that are now considered outdated and inefficient. To stay ahead of the competition, it’s imperative to stay up-to-date on new advancements in your field. This way, you’ll be able to offer your clients the best service possible.

    Remaining current in your field will also help you develop more efficient means of accomplishing your daily tasks. This can help propel you forward as your coworkers and supervisors will look to you to share your knowledge with the rest of your organization. Over time, you’ll increase your value to the company and be considered a stronger asset, which may lead to more opportunities over time.

    You’ll Be More Engaging

    Attending conferences and seminars in different locations will introduce you to others in your industry with similar interests and joy of learning. You’ll expand your social network over time and potentially gain new friends with whom you can have engaging conversations and interactions. The individuals you meet will likely have different skills sets and experiences that can help you achieve a new perspective or learn even more.

    As you invest more in yourself and career growth, you’ll be in a better position to contribute more to society and your community. You can use your specialized skills for pro-bono work or for helping charitable organizations. Giving back to your community can also make you happier and feel more fulfilled.

    The benefits of lifelong learning extend far beyond the classroom and can have a profound impact on your career. Even if you’re a recent college graduate and feeling a little burnt out on the learning front, try to keep that learning groove going as you start off in your career. It will help your health, happiness and career path in the long run!

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    Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer and Digital Marketing Specialist. She is also the founder of Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to sharing advice on navigating the work world. Passionate about helping others find happiness and success in their careers, she shares advice on everything from the job search and entrepreneurship to professional development, and more! Follow her for more great tips @SarahLandrum

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