“Back to School” campaigns are everywhere – kids dread it, parents love it. No matter which side of the debate you sit on, as a professional you should take a cue from these campaigns and send yourself back to school, too. I am not suggesting signing up for a semester of classes, but taking a little time to study up on the topics and trends that matter most to your position, company and clients.
For example, for those of us that require an awareness of AP style for copy editing, now is a great time to review the latest stylebook changes before the rush of fall season activities hits. Of course there are plenty of other ways to continue your professional education. My suggestions include:
Expanded Client Research
Most of us have a common baseline knowledge of what we need to understand to do our jobs effectively. We’ve educated ourselves on our company’s or clients’ products, technology, partners, competitors and more. But there is always more to learn. Cruise the web to see if any new whitepapers or case studies have been published. If your customers or company is planning to enter a new market in the next 6-9 months, get smart about it. In PR, this is a great time to start scrubbing press lists to learn about any new publications that might have launched recently or editors that might have switched to a new beat.
Industry and local workshops can be a great resource to learn new skills and contacts for your profession. These could be offered by local chambers, universities, standard groups or professional associations. Look for conferences in your area that are in your line of work and see if you can attend a few sessions. Take a couple classes on new team management techniques. Join a local professional networking group to make new contacts that may come in handy later.
We all have an abundance of resources in our offices right now—it lies within your coworkers and superiors. Use them! Have you been eyeing a promotion? Why not schedule a coffee or lunch with someone currently in that role to learn about what it took for them to get to that place. Wondering if you are managing your team well? Schedule some one-on-one huddles to create a two-way conversation about how work is going.
We all know that the fall season can be an extremely busy time of the year, with many companies trying to fit in the last project, product launch or event before the end of the year. But there is no need to get the Back to School jitters. These education opportunities can absolutely be done in moderation, fitting in a little here and there as your schedule permits. With just a little extra motivation on your part to dig into some of these opportunities, you’ll feel crisper than the early Autumn air.