Skills and Experiences that can have a hugely positive impact on your career development

There is no single secret to getting ahead in your career, though hard work and dedication are two important factors that can help to get you there. Additionally, carving a path for your aspirations is about more than fulfilling your day-to-day working role, it’s also about the ways in which you grow your skills and invest in your own potential, in and out of the workplace.

It’s great to have a wealth of professional skills to distinguish yourself in the workplace, but any ambitious high-flier worth their salt should have more to offer than the standard box-ticking criteria if they are to stand out from the crowd. This is why life experience is so important, and why employers are drawn to candidates who can demonstrate a well-rounded personality with a rich variety of hobbies and interests outside work.

Below are just three examples of such skills and experiences that can have a hugely positive impact on your professional development, no matter what industry you’re in.

Education

It’s an unavoidable fact that traditional qualifications can often be the key to advancing your career, but finding the time to study is a nigh-impossible task for most of us, particularly when you have other commitments in your life, like work and family. Not to mention, traditional full-time campus courses can require major upheaval that often forces would-be students to put the rest of their lives on hold in order to study.

Thankfully, education is becoming increasingly accessible for those seeking a steppingstone to get ahead. Distance learning platforms are growing in popularity and widely recognised by employers not merely on the same level as traditional qualifications, but as possessing a different set of skills and benefits in their own right. A candidate with a distance learning degree is likely to be disciplined, competent at working independently and tech literate to boot.

ARU Distance Learning offer a wide range of career-developing courses that are fully flexible and designed to fit around your work and family life, meaning that students don’t have to sacrifice other commitments. If you’re contemplating a changing your career path, distance learning can also be a bridge to a whole new industry, enabling you to continue working whilst laying the foundations for your next professional move.

Travel

In an increasingly globalised world, a well-travelled professional with a broad understanding of different international cultures, attitudes and markets is a gift to any employer. Travel can teach you a number of practical skills, such as patience, perseverance, time-management and interpersonal skills. Some travellers even pick up a second language and may have networking connections across the world. Travel also draws you out of your comfort zone, often leading you to situations that require you to think on your feet. All these skills are extremely useful in a professional environment.

Travelling also opens your mind to other perspectives on the world, something that is essential in the workplace, particularly in leadership and managerial positions where the ideas and personal ambitions of multiple individuals have to be juggled with the shared aims and targets of the collective.

Creativity

This may seem unrelated to your workplace progression, particularly if your job relies more on business and analytical skills than artistic vision, but in fact, creative individuals tend to possess a number of workplace-ready skills that can help to advance their careers. For instance, those who are creatively inclined tend to be more empathetic towards others, an essential skill for effective team leadership.

A tendency towards the creative also suggests to employers an ability to think outside the box and come up with unique and innovative approaches to problem solving, a skill that makes you invaluable in just about any team. If you’ve ever been a performer of any kind, dabbling in high school theatre or a short-lived experimentation with open mic comedy nights, this experience could be a real feather in your cap when it comes to setting yourself out from the crowd, as it suggests an individual who is comfortable putting their ideas forward, making their voices heard and leading when necessary.

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