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Four Tips for Professional Development

Professional development means increasing your expertise and skill sets to make you more proficient in your field and a more desirable worker. Whether you are unemployed and looking for a job, or you are positioning yourself to progress in your current line of work, professional development can be essential to your success.

Professional development requires extra effort beyond your regular work duties, but your persistence can propel you to the next level in your career. The following ideas for professional development can give you the edge you need to meet your goals.

Continue Your Education

Continuing education is among the best approaches for advancing your career. When you enroll in a degree program or certification program, you are committing to learning a distinct set of skills. Your degree or certificate of completion is a testament to your dedication and your new knowledge. Ongoing education is an alternative to a new degree or certification. This form of learning allows you to stay current in your field by taking continuing education credits or annual recertification courses. Because of the increasing popularity of online education, all of these options are more feasible than they used to be for working individuals.

Practice the Part

Act as though you are already in your goal position and dress appropriately for the job. Interact with employees at that level so they already think of you as one of them and so you can stay aware of what is happening in the company. When the position opens up, you will be a natural choice to fill it. An experienced and well-respected mentor at your workplace can advise you on company culture and special skills you should know. Online career coaching can be a good resource for learning new skills.
Network

Networking is always a smart step for advancing your career. Join online professional networks like LinkedIn to make connections with local professionals and other professionals across the country. When you are applying for a job, virtual acquaintances are likely to give you the benefit of the doubt compared to people whose names they do not know. Conferences are another networking tool as they allow you to meet people face-to-face. You can also experience a change of scenery, increase your motivation to pursue your career goals, and be exposed to new ideas.

Beef Up Your Resume

Beefing up your resume sounds like an attempt to fool potential employers. The reality, though, is that anything you do that is worthy of putting on your resume is likely to benefit your professional and personal growth. Think about your resume from the point of view of a hiring committee. Do you see any weak spots you can strengthen? Work on the areas that appear inadequate. For example, try volunteering if you are lacking in the area of community service. If your list of computer skills seems short, ask to participate in projects at work that will help you become more computer literate.

A focus on your personal growth and professional skills can make you a more attractive candidate for landing a job or procuring a raise. You need to devote time and effort if you want to obtain noticeable results, but the payoff can make the investment worthwhile. Colleagues and other mentors may be willing to help you in your quest.

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