Have you ever considered taking control of your own professional development? Your career is yours to mould and investing in yourself gives you the clarity, power and tools to create your own future.
While many employers will provide some training opportunities, to truly succeed in your field, you’ll need to do all you can to make yourself a more valuable employee. In order to do that, you should always be working on expanding your skill set through professional development opportunities.
So, how do we do this in a manageable and achievable way? The best place to start is with a career stocktake. In one column, make a note of where you’re currently positioned in your career, including your responsibilities, your key skills and any professional development you have already undertaken. In a second column, write down where you want to be in the next five years. Finally, in the last column, make a note of the skills and knowledge you think you will need to acquire to get there.
With your stocktake in hand, it’s time to develop an action plan to help you meet your goals.
Remember, professional development can incorporate both formal and informal learning. Formal opportunities may include using your existing skills to study toward a qualification. There are numerous diploma and certificate programmes available for you to expand your professional skills.
Online study is a fantastic way to develop new skills and knowledge. It works well for those who still need to work and earn and for those who need to juggle personal and family commitments. Online learning makes it possible for you to study when and where it suits you, which offers huge advantages for busy people.
If you are considering study online with eCampus NZ, think about completing your learning in bite-sized chunks. Doing a course at a time can make it easy to gain valuable skills in a short timeframe.
Informal professional development can take many forms including savvy use of social media channels. Whatever field you’re in, there will be an online community where you can contribute to discussions, network with others and gain added knowledge or skills to further your career. It is also an efficient way to help you to keep up-to-date with the latest thinking in your field.
Why not put your listening ears on and make the most of your time on the way to and from work with podcasts, TED Talks or audiobooks. There’s a huge range available, so whether you’re looking for industry-specific or more general career-development or lifestyle material, you’re sure to find it with a simple google search.
Wherever you’re at with your career journey, taking control of your future is hugely empowering. The bottom line on professional development is that YOU OWN IT! Learning new skills and challenging yourself are definitely the best ways to keep your career fresh and moving forward.