5 professional development strategies
Where are you at in your career now, and where would you like to be? Your career trajectory is up to you, and it hinges on the professional development goals you set for yourself.
What is professional development?
Professional development is affected by a few key factors, but ultimately, professional development comes down to your own determination to improve your skills and psychology as they relate to your job. If you’re truly committed to improving your professional life, it’s time to make a change. Take charge of your professional development by following the five steps below.
1. Set professional development goals
You’ve heard the age-old question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” While this question might be overplayed, it is still a question that you must consider when setting professional development goals. Where do you see yourself in one year, five years, 10 years, and how old do you plan to be when it’s time to retire? Having a clear idea of where you are and where you want to go in your career is essential. Once you have your long-term plan in mind, think of what it will take to get there. How can you set achievable, incremental goals that will lead to success down the road? Establish some short- and some long-term goals that ultimately help you reach your true professional purpose.
2. Create a professional development plan
Now that you’ve identified what is it you want from your career, it’s time to create a professional development plan. Establish what tools you need to accomplish your goals and what metrics you’ll use to track your progress. As you begin to make progress, remember to track your successes and hold yourself accountable. You can recalibrate your plan if certain aspects aren’t working for you along the way.
3. Find a mentor
Looking to make major strides in your career? Sometimes the best way to grow is to find a mentor. Turn to someone who can give you objective advice, and whose career you admire. Don’t know anyone who would be a great mentor in real life? You can still research others whose success you can replicate. As Tony often says, “Success leaves clues.” Study the career path of those who have already achieved massive success and mimic their actions.
4. Look for opportunities through your employer
Oftentimes, employers offer added enrichment benefits like reimbursing employees for different classes or training programs. Maybe you want to go back to school to receive your MBA, or perhaps you want to go through an immersive leadership training so more opportunities will be available for you in the future. Whether it’s finding ways to volunteer with your employer and expanding your horizons and résumé that way, or taking nighttime courses to learn a new language, make sure you’re not missing out on any beneficial courses.
5. Attend professional development events
There are many great professional development events out there – the trick is finding the one that’s right for your needs. Choosing an immersive program that helps you not only shapes your career trajectory, but presents you with real-life situations is the best way to sharpen your skill set. Many times, employers will reimburse you for these beneficial programs as well.
When identifying your professional development goals, the key is to understand what it is you really want. What do you consider the pinnacle of professional success? What are your financial goals, and how does your career path align with them? Understanding your business identity is an incredible way to start on your journey to greater success.