This guide is part of our January Job Goals series. Share this Job Goal on Facebook or Pinterest (hey, a little accountability is always a good thing!), then share your progress in the comments section!

Whether it's public speaking, Photoshop, or Portuguese, you know there's a skill out there that would boost your cache at work—you just haven't exactly had the time to work on it.

Well, let's make this month the month!

Not all skills can be learned in just a few weeks, of course, but no matter what you want to do, you can definitely make some headway on your goal in a month, and the beginning of the year is the perfect time to do it. These steps will help you choose the skill you want to focus on, come up with a professional development plan, and stay motivated over the course of the month. Happy learning!

Step 1: Choose a Skill (But Not Any Skill)

Getting some extra training or professional education can go a long way in setting you up for a new job or promotion at your current company, but there’s a difference between collecting random skills and gaining new experiences that will prepare you for the next level.

So, before you pick a skill to focus on this month, your first step should be identifying those that will be most important for your future. Ask yourself:

  • What gaps in knowledge do I have for my job (or the job I want)?
  • What skills do those around me (and above me) have that I don't?
  • What gaps in knowledge are there on my team that I could fill?
  • What characteristics does my boss value most?
  • Read More

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    • Want a Gig in Marketing? 6 Tech Skills You Need
    • Step 2: Research Your Options

      Once you've identified the skill you want to focus on, it's time to brainstorm tangible ways to gain it. Are there training programs at your company you could enroll in? Do your industry organizations offer classes or workshops? Are there Skillshare or Lynda courses you could take? Even one-on-one coaching sessions with a mentor or friend can be helpful. Check out the ideas below to identify the best ways for you to get started.

      (Oh, and don't forget to check with your boss or the employee handbook to see if there's a budget for training. If not, it's still worth asking your company to pay for one-off courses or conferences—it's benefiting your team, after all!)

      Read More

      • 50 Professional Development Classes Anyone Can Take
      • Great Ideas for Cheap Professional Development
      • The Best Resources for Learning to Code
      • Want to Learn Something New? The Site You Should Know About
      • How I (Finally) Got Over My Fear of Public Speaking
      • Step 3: Stay Motivated

        You've picked your skill, you've figured out how you're going to learn it, and the last step is putting a plan in place and keeping your momentum up all month long.

        Easier said than done, we know. But we've found that the secret to staying on track (with any type of goal, really) is setting small, specific to-dos and inking them into your schedule—for example, "I'll work on my language app for 15 minutes each day," or "I'll listen to a half-hour podcast while I eat my lunch every day."

        Read on for some other tips and tricks for turning a goal into reality, then start mastering that skill. We know you can do it!

        Read More

        • How to Find Time to Learn New Skills
        • How to Overcome a Weakness and Gain Confidence in Your Skills
        • Toss Your Resolutions Out the Window (and Try This Instead)
        • Get Your Gold: How to Achieve Your Goals Like An Olympian
        • The Surefire Way to Stick to Your Goals
        • How are you doing with your January Job Goal? Share your progress in the comments section!