If there’s one thing employees have learned from the recession, it is not to rely on the bosses to keep their skills sharp. Fortunately, there are many more ways to stretch your skills.
• Enroll in online webinars or self-directed classes. Many cater to the admin profession, such as those offered by BusinessDaily, publisher of Administrative Professional Today, and IAAP-hq.org. Others, like Knowledgewebb.net, can help build technical skills.
• Take the boot camp approach. Target a specific skill set you want to bolster, then enroll in certificate coursework at a local university.
Example: Cristina Planas was seven years into her career when she saw a need to sharpen her advanced writing skills. She tracked down a nondegree course at the University of Miami; her employer agreed to pay a portion of the tuition and let her leave work slightly early once a week.
• Not sure what skills you need? Do research using social-media tools. Sharlyn Lauby, president of ITM Group Inc., a training consultancy, suggests joining online groups and asking questions, such as, “What do you think are the three skills people are looking for in our field?”
— Adapted from “Workers take control of training,” Cindy Krischer Goodman, Miami Herald, and “Report Finds Low Graduation Rates at For-Profit Colleges,” Tamar Lewin, The New York Times.