Workplace Trends

Use On-the-Job Training to Advance in Your Career

By Kristen Leverone on May 2, 2013

A recent LHH survey found that 30 percent of workers consider on-the-job training to be the most important factor in their career advancement. On-the-job training allows you to work and learn at the same time, developing new skills that have immediate impact and enhancing qualifications for future roles. To seize opportunities that may be available, it’s necessary to take initiative. Hanging back, waiting for someone to present an opportunity, remaining complacent with the status quo, or worse, being unwilling to invest the time needed, could be a costly error.

Managers are very receptive to team members who are proactive and identify ways they can grow and contribute at higher levels. These employees are eager to learn new skills, take risks, move outside of their comfort zones and dedicate the extra time and effort needed. When evaluating opportunities to advance in your career, consider:

  • During the summer, colleagues will be leaving for vacation and managers will be scrambling to cover positions in their absence. Determine where you can add value and then express interest in filling the gaps.
  • Look for stretch assignments or projects that would add value, and require knowledge or skills that are beyond your current level.
  • Raise your hand. Participate in cross functional teams and look for ways to expand your contribution on a project.
  • Make life a little easier for your boss. Everyone is doing more with less, even your manager. Look for ways to add value and help your manager. It’s a great way to set yourself apart.
  • If your organization offers virtual career development training and skill building courses, take advantage. Look for free online courses.

Do you consider your career an ever-evolving commitment to learning and growth? Are you willing to invest your own time in your development? Whatever the avenue, you must take ownership for your career and seek the training needed to remain relevant. Those who are self-motivated are those who will rise to the top.

If you wait quietly for opportunities to come your way, chances are they won’t. Taking control of your career is empowering, so don’t wait – just make it happen.

2 Responses to “Use On-the-Job Training to Advance in Your Career”

  1. shaila rajan

    I totally agree; but what if your boss feels if you initiate to help others maybe you will leave him, hence he will not allow. can you please advice how to handle this situation?

    • Lee Hecht Harrison

      Thanks for your comment, Shaila. Unfortunately, it is a reality that some managers do not always support making career development opportunities available if they feel they may lose talent. When discussing opportunities for development such as contributing to a cross-functional project, create a “business case” that demonstrates how the new skills you develop will make you more productive, fill a particular gap or add value in a way that will help your manager and your team deliver better results. If you can show your manager how he/she will benefit, you can help alleviate concerns.


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