Invest in Your Personal Development and Boost Your Career
Career development doesn’t end when we graduate. To keep up with the flood of information and the pace of change in our workplace, we need to embrace perpetual, lifelong learning. Some of us may need to prepare for another job, while others may need to develop skills to advance within their current job. Be proactive and take personal responsibility for your own growth and development.
Investing in your development will keep you motivated on the job… and help you remain competitive in the job market. Thinking about these steps can help you kick-start your career.
Get to know yourself.
The first step to any development plan is conducting a personal assessment. What do you enjoy? What makes you special? How can you apply your gifts and talent to grow into your professional future? What are you good at, and what do you need to do better? Decide how you’d like to change or improve.
Identify the resources you need to make that change happen.
Your available support can come from a variety of places, and the amount of time and money you invest can vary greatly. Before you begin, think seriously about the level of investment you’ll need to reach your goal, and the tools you’ll need to make it a reality. Ask if your employer offers tuition assistance and/or paid time off to pursue learning opportunities.
Create an Action Plan.
Think about how you’d like to improve your performance or advance your career. Focusing on one subject at a time will keep you from feeling overwhelmed and will increase your chance at success. Once your plan is set in motion, don’t forget to take time to analyze your progress.
Following is a list of options to consider when developing your action plan:
- Start a new hobby – Identify a hobby that provides some level of information or insight to help you reach your new goal. In addition to helping you feel more fulfilled, interesting and stimulated, hobbies can help boost your brain power.
- Seek the training you need – Everything from books and videos to online courses and continuing education classes can help you get to the next level. Employee mentoring programs are another great resource, but don’t forget about comparable outside resources like informational interviews with like-minded professionals, or a professional networking or coaching service.
- Get involved with special projects – Think about the skills or knowledge you want to develop, and then see if an opportunity exists within your organization. Go to your boss or supervisor with a few concrete ideas that would be mutually beneficial. Suggest areas where you may be able to get more involved and take on more responsibility.
Be proactive about your professional future.