It makes sense that one benefit of taking continuing education courses in your field or career area would be expanding your professional network. As you learn the skills you need to stay up to date in your field or advance to the next level, you will get to know others doing the same thing. Your instructors may also become part of your professional network. And even if you don’t expand your professional network, there’s nothing wrong with expanding your personal network.
When it comes to your professional network, you never know how your contacts in the field will open a door to an opportunity or provide a referral to your next job. Even if you want to stay in the same job, professional contacts can provide information about a side opportunity like leading a training that could further your experience and expertise.
All Continuing Education Courses Help With Networking
It’s interesting to note, however, that even continuing education courses not directly related to your current job skills or career educational goals can yield professional networking opportunities. How many times have you come across someone at the grocery store or doctor’s waiting room with whom you had a similar professional background? It happens more often than you think, even in a pottery class or while practicing yoga with an instructor.
It isn’t so much the contacts themselves that are valuable, although they can be if you get to know someone as a friend in addition to a professional contact. Networking while taking a class can also be a source of information about industry events like conferences and speakers, as well as professional clubs you can join or other courses that can be most valuable in building new skills.
Even introverts who find it difficult to talk to new people can network. Just talk to one new person each class, and by the end you will have several new contacts. A good trick is to ask questions about the other person, which takes the pressure off you because most people like to talk about themselves. Exchanging cell numbers or email addresses can allow you to pursue the relationship electronically, which might be easier for some introverts as well.
Through the networking that takes place in continuing education courses, you can gain access to the inside track of your industry or profession. A sense of being in the know or having a deep understanding of what your industry is all about can happen through taking courses, networking, and pursuing the clubs and events that are talked about by your instructors and contacts.
The best learning takes place through an immersion of sorts, and that immersion begins with continuing education courses. CCSU offers many continuing education courses that are both career-oriented and enriching beyond your career. View all our open courses to see which ones might give you networking opportunities while you learn new skills.