After graduating college, we assume the remainder of our education will take place in the office, which in a sense holds true. However, working in the same environment, with the same people, doing similar tasks day after day, month after month, hardly yields consistent growth. Instead, it can create a plateau in our development. When this happens, we need something to re-inspire and remind us why we chose our careers. That’s where continuing professional development comes in. It’s a vital tool to help us stay on top of trends in our field and continuously refine our skills. Whether we lose touch with proper grammar skills or need to learn up-and-coming social media marketing techniques, we must stay ahead of the curve.
You can continue your professional development in a number of ways. Whether you listen to a competitor’s webinar, attend a conference on emerging trends, or enroll in a foundational writing course, it’s important to continue learning and shaping the way you do business. It can be very simple to find a relevant course online or at a local college. However, finding the right conference or webinar may take some work. If you find an organization that hosts several events a year, such as thinkLA, you can join an email list for alerts on opportunities that may be a good fit for your needs.
It’s understood that we are all busy, all the time. However, carving out a few hours a week or even a month for development is essential to your career growth. Aside from the personal benefits that regular professional development can offer you—like expanding your network and broadening your skills—your employer will likely see this as a commitment to the company’s success, potentially leading to a promotion or raise.
Professional development, when paying out of your own pocket, can be expensive and may not seem like it’s worth the cost; however, you might be surprised by what your employer is willing to contribute to your personal success. Many organizations also offer scholarships. Sometimes all you have to do is ask.
Ultimately, our career can be like a hamster wheel: we continue to rotate, only focusing on what is directly before us. It’s easy to fall into a routine and forget that there are always fresher, more innovative ways of doing things. Being open to these new processes and tools is essential for improving our performance. Taking a step out of our career comfort zone can make all the difference.