Skill Build Your Way to Making More Money

Much of what we do in life and work is simply learning as we goHowever, being intentional about building work skills and becoming the go-to expert at your workplace can help you build your career and increase your income.   

Here are 4 ways to build your work skills.

1) Read job postings for positions a step or two up from your current position.  

  • What qualifications are they looking for in their ideal candidate? 
  • What degrees, licenses, and/or accreditations lead to greater positions of responsibility and income in your current or desired field?  
  • What does the accreditation, license, training, or degree cost in time and money? 

For example, a human resources assistant sees that obtaining a Professional of Human Resources (PHR) certification is favored in job applications and researches how to obtain the accreditation through the body that offers it, HRCI.  

2) Join professional organizations. 

Professional organizations are a valuable way to meet and learn from others in your field. They often offer monthly lunch and learn training sessions, websites full of educational materials, and annual conferences. You’ll also have the opportunity to network (build and maintain professional relationships), which can open up new work opportunities.

3) Identify skills that are important for your success and improve upon them.  

Do you need to speak to audiences or give briefings to co-workers, managers, or customers? You may benefit from a public speaking class or an organization like Toastmasters. Need more computer skills? Seek out training on the specific software used at your workplace. 

4) Become the in-house expert. 

When your workplace offers opportunities, for example, earning a new technical system or tools for dealing with difficult customers, take the opportunity. Become known as a person who enjoys learning and challenges. Seek out additional training, conferences, etc., and explain to your employer how this will benefit not just you but the business as well. Offer to teach other employees your area of expertise. 

Once you’ve identified skills you can build to advance your career, look for ways to obtain the education in a cost-efficient manner. 

As always, be wary of offers that are too good to be true. You want to obtain education and accreditations from credible, reliable, and respected sources. If you’re unsure, always take a step back and seek more info from a wise and knowledgeable source.


Reprioritize your budget and set aside money each month towards your skill-building goals. Create a prioritized list of which goal is most important and focus on that. You may want to spend money to join a local professional organization that provides training and networking while saving up for a more expensive degree or accreditation.  

Finally, ask the college, accrediting body, or professional organization directly if there are scholarships, grants, discounts, or government assistance available based on your specific circumstances. Many organizations offer discounts for current students, older adults, and adults with lower incomes, so be sure to ask.


Your current employer (or a future one) may pay for skill building and education, especially if it is related to your current assigned duties.

  • Provide in-house (internal) training.
  • Pay for or offer some reimbursement for accreditation/licensing initial or annual fees.
  • Offer tuition reimbursement, usually capped at a certain amount per class and per year.
  • Fund travel and expenses for outside (external) professional conferences and training.

Free & Low-Cost Resources

  • State & Community Based Job Centers 
  • CareerOneStop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor
  • Community College non-credit Adult Continuing Education Programs and Workforce Solutions Programs 
  • TED Talks, Khan Academy, library books/classes, and YouTube videos  

Now, pick one or two steps and start building skills for your next position with more responsibility and higher pay. 

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