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Professional Development: Learning Never Ends

professional development, learning, career advancement, career, personal developmentThis is a guest blog post by Dawn Rasmussen on the importance of professional development. 

Professional development is actually a magic ingredient to a successful career.

Case in point: I was just at a conference last week where I met with a lot of career professionals looking for feedback on their résumés.

You could just see their eyes rolling back in their heads when they started to think about the work that they would need to do to get things up to speed for today’s job market.

But one thing I did do, besides offering advice, is to light a fire underneath them.

You see, most of us sort of bumble along in our careers, and rarely see how professional development fits into the bigger picture of our career.

People need to see how professional development can become a galvanizing factor in their careers.

These learning opportunities help you gain job-specific skills and knowledge.

Professional development means everything beyond your formal schooling (degree or certificate from a college/university/trade school). This includes seminars, workshops, training programs, internal corporate learning universities, webinars, classes, conferences, trade shows, conventions… you get the drift.

And employers are in the catbird seat… and they are hiring subject matter experts who take the time to add to their job knowledge.

So why wouldn’t you want to be one?

The reality is that there is no good reason why you shouldn’t be as honed as possible. This could be what makes the difference as to whether you get hired or not.

Make a goal to strategically plan out the next year and include specific goals like get a mentor as part of your career roadmap.

Decide on one or two things you want to learn this year, then set up a plan.

Ask yourself these questions about your professional development:

1)      Do I have any skill gaps?

2)      Do I need to update any skills that I already have?

3)      Do I need to get ahead of the curve to know what’s coming next?

Then decide how you are going to address these issues.

So what classes, workshops, etc. can you take to add to your body of professional knowledge?

As you add professional development records to your résumé, you’ll gradually drop off the more dated ones. The point here is to show current and up-to-date job knowledge.

And that’s what employers like to see.

Professional development is yet another tool in your job search arsenal that you can use to help you get ahead.

Thanks Ryan Gessner for the photo via Flickr. 

Written by: Dawn Rasmussen
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Categories: Career Advice

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