How To Acquire New Skills in 10 Steps

Updated June 24, 2022

Acquiring new skills can help you continue to grow professionally and expand your career opportunities. Depending on your interests, you can gain new skills via on-the-job training, additional education and supplemental non-academic training. It's important to create and understand your goals both for personal and professional growth. In this article, we define acquired skills, explore their importance and review 10 steps on how to acquire new skills on your own.

What are acquired skills?

Acquired skills are abilities you learn through practice and experience. Often, acquired skills can include both hard and soft skills, and these abilities may help you improve your performance at work. Soft skills are not easily quantifiable, but they typically relate to how you manage your work and collaborate and communicate with others. Hard skills often show that you possess a particular technical ability, such as programming software or analyzing data.

Why acquired skills are important?

Acquiring new skills can make you more effective in your role and can demonstrate your dedication to improvement and advancement. As you progress your skills, you may also find that your skills are transferable between industries. Focusing on skills such as computer literacy, teamwork and communication may help you when pursuing other career interests.

How to acquire new skills

Review these steps to learn how to acquire new skills:

1. Choose skills to learn

The skill you choose depend on your goals and interests. If you're wanting to advance at work, consider asking your manager for supplemental training suggestions they think may be useful for you to learn. If you're looking to start a new career, try looking at job postings to see what skills they require in order to know where to start in your skills training.

Related: 7 Tips For Personal Growth

2. Make time to learn

Set aside time every day to learn and practice the new skills you are gaining. If you're training or taking supplemental courses, consider making a schedule to ensure you're able to focus on the material but also able to continue with your regular day. It's important to arrange this time so that you don't lose focus on what you are trying to achieve.

Read more: 11 Time Tracking Apps and Software For Managing Your Time

3. Learn the fundamentals

Prior to learning and practicing a new skill, it's helpful to understand its history and impact. Learn as much as you can about its origins, uses and benefits . For example, when learning a new language, some find it helpful to know some things about the root language that it comes from, as different languages have different rules and pronunciations. Collecting this information can also help you align the skill with your broader goals.

4. Choose the tools to use

First, see what tools are available to you, then choose the tools that fits best with your learning style. There may be many choices depending on the skills you're interested in acquiring. Some tools that may be helpful are internships, books, podcasts, workshops, classes or a combination of these options. Choosing the best tools for your learning style helps keep the content accessible and engaging as you pursue your new skills.

5. Create a curriculum

Creating a curriculum may help streamline your learning process and provide insight into the next steps. To build your personal curriculum, consider categorizing your learning tasks into sequential folders or steps. If you want to create a more challenging or engaging learning experience, try mixing your content to increase focus and retention, such as reading an article and watching a video within the same learning time frame. If you find yourself unable to master a section, consider reviewing earlier steps to refresh your knowledge.

6. Set specific goals

Setting goals to attain skills is also an important step in learning something new. Try making your goals measurable and attainable in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed during the learning stage. Set as many milestones as you'd like, and consider choosing a reward for each major achievement, as these can serve as motivators.

Related: Tips on Setting Goals

7. Share your goals

Sharing your goals with someone else may help to create different ways for you to learn. Consider sharing your goals with those you trust in order to get honest feedback and help with navigating your interests. It can also be helpful to share your goals with someone who has already acquired the skills you're pursuing because they might share important or fundamental knowledge that can help you in the future.

8. Set deadlines

Setting deadlines is a great way to practice self-accountability and create a schedule that works for you. Setting deadlines can also help you prioritize and keep track of your learning schedule to ensure you complete your milestones on time. You may find that setting deadlines helps you to focus and remove distractions.

If you want assistance with setting and maintaining deadlines, consider exploring personal task management apps for your phone or web browser. These often allow you to set due dates for related tasks and prioritize items based on their importance.

Read more: Why Deadlines Are Important

9. Practice the skills

Using your acquired skills in a practical setting can help to improve your skill level, knowledge and comprehension. Consider finding ways you can practice your skills daily, such as offering free services to clients. For example, if you completed a web development course, you can highlight your skills on your social media page, explaining the services you provide along with an offer of a free trial.

10. Get feedback

Asking others for feedback can be an important way to prepare you for the future and help you improve upon newly acquired skills. While there are no rules as to when you should ask for feedback in your self-study, it may be most effective to do so any time you make progress during your journey. Asking for feedback during this time may help you notice areas that need additional attention so you can make adjustments immediately.

Explore more articles

  • 6 Attributes to Include on Your Resume
  • How To Write a Position Paper in 7 Steps (With a Template)
  • How To Calculate Equilibrium Price
  • How To Deal With Unreasonable Demands at Work (With Steps)
  • How To Move a Table in Word With 5 Different Methods
  • How To Write a Follow-Up Email (Plus Template and Example)
  • Best Careers For the Next 10 Years
  • What Is A Feasibility Report? (Definition and Template)
  • What Is Cognitive Learning? Definition, Benefits and Examples
  • Outliers in Excel: Definition, Tips and How To Calculate Them
  • How To Structure An Effective Argument in 5 Steps
  • How To Write an Executive Summary (With Example)