Many professions require continuing education or schooling to maintain licenses or certifications. Teachers, Doctors, Real Estate Agents and Lawyers must partake in continuing education to maintain their state licenses as well as most technical and non-technical certifications expire if they are not kept up to date. In my business of matching Top Talent to Top Fortune 500 companies, I see many professionals that are not required to carry or maintain a technical certification or state license. Furthermore many professionals do not see the value in investing in themselves to obtain a technical certification or state license.
Many people ask What’s next? about making a career move. It would seem some are only interested in training if paid for by their employer, rather than investing in their own future. I hear all the time how someone will go to training if my company will pay for it. I express to them that if the training adds value by building a skill or expanding your knowledge, then you should be willing to invest in it personally.
Sometimes the cart comes before the horse my friends. If you want that next promotion, then be willing to invest the necessary resources to get yourself ready for it. This will certainly require your time, money, and good old-fashion hard work. Guess what? If you don’t get the promotion the value of the training remains with you. You now have more skill and an added credential, making yourself more marketable.
In order to stay competitive in today’s market you must continue to develop professionally. This helps to fuel continual added value with your current employer and to better position you for your next career move.
Here are my top 7 suggestions for Professional Development. Ask your self this question: if you aren’t willing to invest in developing yourself, why should your company be willing?
- Formal Academic Education – Enroll in a college class.
- Professional Activities – Attend events that are industry specific, with guest speakers, panel discussions and networking sessions.
- Join a group that is related to your job and professional interest, there are accounting, finance, project management, training, software development, etc., groups available within Michigan – Check out these sites for more: www.guide2detroit.com/services/busproforgs.php, www.michigan.gov and www.michiganbusinessnetwork.com.
- Read books related to your profession, you can even get online books through Amazon’s Audible (www.audible.com) and listen on your way to and from work.
- Check out these sites for free online courses: www.coursera.org, www.lynda.com, www.edx.org.
- Join an online group through LinkedIn.
- Subscribe to a magazine within your profession, this is a great way to stay current within your industry and it will help you sound more credible when you are able to reference articles you have read from those publications.
Happy Professional Development!