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Advancing your skills to stand out in today’s job market

(BPT) - By Andréa Backman, President of Strayer University

You've probably heard a lot about 'the skills gap'-the disparity between the skills an employer expects their employees to have and an employee's actual skills-and perhaps you even feel that you lack certain skills to advance in your own career.

The skills in demand by the workforce continue to evolve rapidly.

The 2023 LinkedIn Workplace Learning report indicates the skillsets for jobs are likely only going to continue increasing. Specifically, the report claimed skill sets for jobs have already changed by around 25% since 2015. By 2027, this number is expected to double.

The question is, how can working adults continue to acquire the skills they need to support their career goals?

Returning to the classroom can be an intimidating proposition. Between work, family and other obligations, going back to school may present many challenges to working adults. Fortunately, there are several ways you can make today's technology, your life experience, your job and flexible educational opportunities work for you.

If you are thinking about furthering your education and skills to help advance in your career, here are some questions to consider:

What is your goal? Decide what type of education will help you achieve your goal: Do you need a specific program? Would a certificate suffice? Would a certain credential further your career? What type of program is most achievable, and where will you get the most support?

What type of program is best for working adults? If you plan to work full time while earning a degree or credential, look for an online or hybrid program with flexibility that offers support for working adults. Ask your employer for the time and flexibility you need to complete an education program.

Are you eligible for credit for prior learning (CPL)? If you have prior work or learning experience, research whether you are eligible for credit for prior learning. This could help give you a head start and make it quicker to get to the finish line.

Will your employer support you? Many employers offer tuition assistance programs. Consider talking to your employer about what may be available to you and how furthering your education may help you advance in the organization.

Amid a rising expectation of skill levels for employees, it can be important to seek out continuing education opportunities-both inside and outside of a traditional classroom.

Take advantage of flexible and affordable options to achieve your education goals. Utilizing some of the unique approaches listed above, such as online or hybrid learning, CPL, and tuition assistance programs, can make advancing your skills less intimidating and more attainable.

For more tips to thrive in an ever-changing jobs market, check out the Hire-Ed podcast.

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