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How to learn anything easily in your career

Learning new things is not always easy, but it’s necessary in your career. But professional development – the term for “learning new things to do your job better” – is not just about learning what your boss wants you to. It’s also the time and opportunity for you to learn what you want. Any time you want to learn a new skill that makes you more marketable, increases your salary, makes you qualified for a more senior job, or helps you reach a career goal is all part of professional development. 

While professional development can be tough, there are many ways to make it easy. Keep reading for tips on how you can learn anything easily for your career (and supercharge your professional development). 

Ask a coworker

Coworkers provide some of the best professional development opportunities

When you want to learn something new, it can often be hard to know where to start. You feel like you are such a beginner that you couldn’t possibly learn a whole new skill. Or you know what you want to learn but aren’t sure where to begin. In times like these, a great way to supercharge your professional development is to ask a coworker to teach you. 

Your coworkers – even the ones on your team – know many different things than you. It’s also likely that you know many things your coworkers don’t). Since you work together every day already, asking a coworker is a great way to learn something new.

Asking a coworker for help can not only help you learn something quickly, it can help you avoid common mistakes. Chances are your coworker made mistakes when learning (something we all do) so they can share tips. 

How to ask a coworker to help you learn something

The first step is to know what you want to learn. You need to get really specific here. It can’t just be “I want to be better at Twitter,” for example. It needs to be “I want to learn how to properly use hashtags in my tweets” or something else very specific.

Once you know what you want to learn, you have to verify that the person you want to ask actually has that knowledge. In the Twitter example above, it’s possible that the coworker may not know much about hashtags. In that case, they won’t be helpful to you. So when you approach them, don’t instantly ask them to teach you. Instead, bring up what you want to learn and ask if they know about the area. Then ask if they might be willing to help you out a bit. 

A note here is that you can’t be upset if someone politely declines to help you. They may simply be too busy or do not have enough knowledge to teach you. In that case, be gracious and thank them for their time. Then move onto someone else who can help you and restart the process.

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