And get your company to pay for it, too!
Taking a single course or a full certificate is a worthwhile investment in your career that many companies will sponsor in order to retain great talent. In so doing, many organizations offer education and training benefits, so your courses could be fully or partially reimbursed.
But before you walk into your manager or HR rep’s office to discuss funding your education, go through these Top 5 tips to compile a persuasive reason for why your organization should invest in you. We’ve also got a nifty “fill-in-the-blank” memo to present to your manager.
1. Dig into the company’s policies.
Does your organization value continued professional education? Have other colleagues pursued advanced education with the full support — financial or otherwise — of their managers? If you’re not sure, simply reach out to your HR representative and ask about the company’s policy on employee education. You’ll want to know what types of education-funding programs they offer, including the types of reimbursement plans.
2. Show how a course or a full certificate will benefit you and, in turn, the company.
Because of your new studies, you’ll be able to show:
- Increased loyalty to the company, which reduces employee churn.
- Increased productivity and the ability to successfully tackle projects you wouldn’t have been able to do before because you’ll have learned the latest skills. New projects = additional revenue.
- Development of leadership skills.
- Ability to mentor new employees.
According to a Better Buys survey, as reported by business.com, “Employees with access to professional development opportunities are 15-percent more engaged in their jobs, which can lead to a 34-percent higher retention rate. This means those employees are not only more productive day to day, but less likely to leave their positions, which saves employers an average turnover cost of 6 to 9 months of an employee’s salary.”
3. Show what skills you’ll be learning and how you’ll transfer them to the job.
Print out the course descriptions from our website for each class you want to take. Highlight or otherwise showcase how certain topics and/or skills are directly applicable to your current work or that promotion you have your eye on. Showing your manager examples of the skills you’ll be learning is akin to presenting the “cold hard facts.”
4. Be prepared to stay at that company for a while after you complete your studies.
Most companies require that an employee stay with the organization for a set period of time after the education has finished. Why would a company pay for you to receive additional education if you’re going to employ those new skills at a different organization? So think about how long you want to stay with your present employer before going down this road.
5. Be prepared to negotiate.
You may not get a “yes” right out of the gate — no matter how much information you’ve provided. For example, the company may not be in a financial state to offer assistance. If that’s the case, perhaps your employer would pay for your studies in lieu of another benefit, such as a raise.
Ask your boss the reasons why the company is unable to fund your studies so you can realign your request around those concerns. Use your annual performance review to reiterate the need for additional education to better perform your work. And then use those moments to ask again!