With so much competition for jobs, it is important that individuals stand out from the crowd. You have to be ready to prove that you are the best person. You need to constantly look at how you can develop and improve. A key way of achieving this is through professional development.
Taking charge of your professional development has become even more important since the recession. Some companies simply don’t have the budget to help employees grow beyond their basic duties. Another reason is that the days of staying at the same job for 10-20 years are gone. This is why many companies do not see the value in training an employee they could lose in 3-5 years.
Why is Professional Development Important?
In today’s fast-paced business world, keeping your skill set current is a must. Professional development can provide the boost you need to progress your career. It is important that you maintain your professional ability by constantly improving your knowledge and skills. This keeps you competitive and can make you more employable.
Now, you may be wondering, “How am I supposed to do that? Well, the first thing you have to do is take charge of your career. You cannot depend on your employer to guide your professional development.
Make an effort to help yourself grow professionally. It will help you succeed both in the short-term and in the long-term. If you don’t learn new skills and acquire new knowledge and experience, you’re likely to fall behind your peers. It would suck to get left behind, right?
Where Should You Start?
Here are 6 ways to approach professional development even without the support of your company:
1. Focus on Your Transferable Skills. These are skills that are relevant across a variety of industries and positions. Even if you can’t use them now, they’ll likely come in handy later.
2. Take a Class. Plenty of colleges and universities offer classes for adults. You can take an evening or weekend class to work better with your job schedule. Online classes are another convenient option. Take a class on a topic that’s relevant for your job, or learn about something that’s totally unrelated for a change of pace.
3. Teach Yourself a Skill. You don’t always need a class to learn a new skill. Website-building or social-media skills are perfect examples of something you can learn on your own. It is a plus to have those skills in any industry.
4. Read, Read, Read. Another way to approach your professional development is to check out books and articles and blogs within your field. You also want to pick books that are not related to your field. As you are reading, think about how you can relate it to your job.
5. Attend a Conference. Not only will you learn new skills, you’ll also make new contacts. A good idea would be to research who is going. Connect with those people on social media before the event. This way you can arrange an in-person meeting. This is also a great way to build your network.
6. Improve Your Professional Skills. Most of us know our weaknesses. Whether it is getting more organized or meeting deadlines putting effort into improving your professional skills will make you more marketable no matter what field you’re in.
As you take charge of your professional development, remember a few things:
- Think Big! Think outside of what might be offered at your job.
- Be Savvy! Concentrate on keeping your technical skills relevant.
- Look at Yourself! Seek professional development opportunities that will help you develop other important skills on the job and in life.
You can learn these skills and others through a variety of ways. You can take a class or participate in an online forum. Whatever it is, take the time to continue improving your professional skills. You will improve your career as you do.
The only way you’re going to be successful is if you are doing it for the right reasons. Don’t do it for your boss. You’re doing this for you.
What you are doing while you’re seeking out other employment opportunities can make a difference. Completing this survey can help to add insight to our mission to find solutions that would benefit those affected by long-term unemployment. Upon completion you will receive a FREE PREVIEW of our PMStudy Project Management Certification Training.