1. Career Advice
  2. Career development
  3. How demonstrating your willingness to learn can help you advance in your career
How demonstrating your willingness to learn can help you advance in your career

How demonstrating your willingness to learn can help you advance in your career

  • Why is it important to have willingness to learn?
  • How to continue learning in your career
  • 4 Tips for showing your willingness to learn
  • 1. Discuss your professional development in an interview
  • 2. Earn a certification
  • 3. Ask for stretch assignments
  • 4. Be proactive
  • Key takeaways

Ask a hiring manager or an employer what skill they value most in employees, and many will probably say a willingness to learn. If you want to get ahead in your career, it’s essential to keep learning and show a commitment to continued growth.

It might sound like a cliché, but being a fast learner can be hugely beneficial for your career growth. When you’re able to grasp new skills and concepts quickly, you can take on additional tasks, improve your efficiency, and stand out on a team. A willingness to learn can also be a useful skill to highlight when you’re applying for new jobs, since many employers look for candidates with ambition and initiative.

In this article, touch on:

  • Why continued learning is essential for your career

  • 3 ways you can keep learning new skills

  • 4 tips for growing in your career by demonstrating a willingness to learn

Why is it important to have willingness to learn?

Throughout your career, you can use your willingness to learn to continue growing and achieving new goals. When you’re willing to learn, it can have these advantages:

  • You stay updated on new skills. When you consider the recent rise of technologies like artificial intelligence, it’s clear that the skills you know now may not be the ones you need in the future. By having a willingness to learn new skills, you can stay updated on trends essential for career growth.

  • You can learn new skills more quickly. By developing a willingness to learn, it becomes easier to pick up new skills quickly. Being a fast learner can be an advantage when you’re competing for a job or a promotion.

  • You can build your network. When you seek opportunities to learn, you can build your network by meeting people through classes, workshops, or events. These connections may even lead to new opportunities.

  • You show your promotion potential. Employers want to keep their high-performing employees, and having a strong willingness to learn can put you in that category. It shows that you’re someone who can handle new challenges and responsibilities.

Statistical Insight

Continued learning could lead to a promotion

Do you have a goal to get promoted? A willingness to learn might help you get there. Employee training statistics show that employees who complete learning and development programs are 15% more likely to earn a promotion.

How to continue learning in your career

Some companies offer professional training and development for their employees, but not all do. Even if your employer offers this benefit, it’s up to you to continue expanding your knowledge. 

Take these three steps to keep learning:

  • Identify skills you lack or want to improve. Start with an honest assessment of your skills and areas for improvement. For example, do you struggle to learn new software programs, or can your communication skills use some work? Focus on one skill you want to improve and work from there.

  • Set goals for yourself. Having a professional development goal gives you something to work toward. Choose a measurable goal and set a deadline for achieving it.

  • Ask for support. Your professional network can offer support, so ask for it when you need it. For example, if taking an organizational course could improve your efficiency, ask your manager for time to complete the class.

4 Tips for showing your willingness to learn

Showing a willingness to learn new knowledge and skills can help you excel in your career. Here are four tips with examples 

1. Discuss your professional development in an interview

If you’re interviewing for a new job or a promotion, discuss your willingness to learn. Talk about past examples of times when you’ve learned new skills. You might mention how you took the initiative to complete an online course.

During an interview, you can also ask about opportunities for professional development. Many hiring managers prefer to bring on candidates who show an interest in remaining with a company long-term. By asking about professional development, you can show your commitment to growing with a company.

2. Earn a certification

Earning a certification is a good way to show employers your willingness to learn. You can find many certifications available online or at local community colleges. Usually, earning a certification involves completing a course and taking an exam to test your knowledge.

Listing certification(s) on your resume impresses employers and presents an opportunity to discuss it in a job interview. You can also mention a certification to your manager during a check-in or a performance review to demonstrate your ambition.

3. Ask for stretch assignments

A stretch assignment is a task that’s slightly beyond your current skill level. By asking for assignments that stretch your limits, you can grow as a professional and show your dedication to continued learning. If you’re a social media specialist, you might ask your manager if you could lead a marketing team meeting to discuss the best practices for engagement. 

4. Be proactive

If advancing in your career is a goal, be proactive about asking for those opportunities. Make sure your manager knows about your professional goals, especially if you’re looking to move up in the company. When you have an opportunity to grow, take it—whether it’s learning a new skill, handling an additional responsibility, or volunteering for an assignment. If you’re consistent and proactive, others will notice your hard work.

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Key takeaways

  1. A willingness to learn can have many benefits for your career, whether you want to stay updated on your skills, build your network, or earn a promotion.

  2. You can continue learning throughout your career by assessing your skills and setting goals for improvement.

  3. There are many ways to show your willingness to learn, such as by earning a certification or asking for stretch assignments.

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