Career Homework

So you’ve graduated college and you’re out in the real world. Congratulations! The transition into the workforce can be daunting, but it can also be amazingly fun. One way to ensure that you’re doing your best at the office is to not give up on the idea of homework.

We know, you’ve waited decades to get rid of homework. Why would you want to volunteer for more? Actually taking on homework in your career can be extremely beneficial for you both in the short and long-term.

Short-term, career homework can keep you up-to-date with the latest industry standards and best practices, enabling you to perform your day-to-day tasks more efficiently. Long-term, career homework can open so many doors. Whether you’ve got your eye on a promotion at your current company or are looking for a fresh start somewhere new, keeping up with your homework will lay the foundation for the next steps in your career far before you’re even thinking about taking them.

So, what exactly does homework mean in regards to your career? Homework is anything involves going above and beyond outside of work to enhance your own career or job performance. This can cover a wide variety of actions that will vary from industry to industry or even job to job.

Here are some of our favorite homework assignments that can help add some momentum to your career:

Industry Media Consumption

Chances are, your industry has endless resources that are constantly being updated with news and information relevant to you! The options here are endless. Pick up a books or magazine. Listen to a podcast. Browse for blogs and YouTube channels. Whatever medium you prefer, there will be something out there for you.

These resources can be incredibly valuable in giving you a better idea of the larger conversation happening within your industry. Brushing up on the industry as a whole will allow you to bring new ideas to the table at your own company and participate in discussions about the bigger picture. It can be eye-opening to really step back and see your job, company or industry as a whole.

Learning New Skills

Even if you’ve graduated, you don’t have to leave the classroom! It’s always a good idea to work on new skills. It not only keeps you sharp and nimble, but you’re continuing to add to your own value as an employee.

Depending on your established skill set, current job or dream position, there are any number of skills you might to decide to develop. Learning a new language is always a good place to start, and apps like Duolingo make it fun and easy! Coding is another great skill set that is becoming more and more essential. Codeacademy is a fantastic, free resource that can help you learn to code in a variety of different languages.

Outside of these more “practical” skills, don’t discount a class that stretches your right brain. Taking up dance or pottery can fuel creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. Even if you’re not on a traditionally creative career path, flexing these creative muscles is a perfect way to practice complex problem solving and communication.

Networking

I know it feels like we’re beating a dead horse here. Is there any career advice for millennials that doesn’t involve networking? But it really is incredibly important and can be invaluable down the road.

Get started by networking within your own organization. Volunteer to come in early or stay late. Be willing to help people from other departments, even if it’s not exactly in your job description. Build a reputation as someone who is ready to go above and beyond the call of duty. Position yourself as an essential member of the organization and, when the time comes for a promotion, you’ll be the obvious choice.

Outside of your organization, join local groups or clubs that spark your interest. Most cities have a number of industry networking groups to choose from. But don’t limit yourself to your career field. Check out local nonprofits that you’re passionate about. Many of these organizations have membership events that can be great for meeting new people. Local Chambers of Commerce or similar organizations will also have mixers and events specifically designed for young professionals. Look around, test a few out, and find the best fit is for you!

Continuing homework after graduation day may sound like a drag, but it can actually be an enlightening and rewarding experience. Ideally, your career homework should not only lead you to activities that ignite and fuel your passions, but will also reward you with raises and promotions as well. To us, that sounds like an A+!

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