Career Tips

August 2016

Plan Ahead on Professional Development

Adding one or two classes, workshops or conferences per year will add to your body of knowledge.

Professional Development as a Career Asset

By Dawn Rasmussen, CMP

Take a moment and step out of your shoes … and imagine if you were the boss.

When you are in the hiring process, you’d want to hire the smartest cookie, right?


And in today’s job market, being the smartest cookie in the cookie basket is your goal.

So how do you improve your job knowledge?

Hint: It’s not something you simply let happen.

Being your own professional development champion is critical.

Oftentimes, people demur about having to pay for their own conferences, workshops, trainings, etc.

“It costs too much,” is the complaint I hear the most.

My point: It actually costs even more when you don’t maintain your knowledge.

By not being on top of things and at the peak of your game, you actually LESSEN your candidacy with potential employers.

Your mission, until you retire from this crazy thing called work life, is to constantly be adding to your knowledge stockpile.

Another thing you should know is that when people stop learning, they become obsolete dinosaurs.

And no employer’s going to want to hire Deeno the Dino.

So here’s how you light the fire and boost your career acumen through professional development:

  1. Identify skill gaps. Where do you feel like you are missing the boat? Are there areas where you wish you knew more about?  Remove this career liability and transform it into an asset by gaining the necessary skills and knowledge through a class, workshop, training, conference, etc.
  2. Update your skills. Similarly, is there a technology or new skill that is repeatedly coming up and you feel skilled only in the ancient version (5 years ago)?  Time to brush up on things so you are as current as possible.
  3. Thought leadership. The more you are in front of the proverbial 8-ball, the more you can influence the company’s direction by making strategic suggestions on how to respond to changing business environments that add a competitive edge. So make plans to attend industry-related conferences that are introducing emerging trends, new technologies, or crystal-ball concepts that help you put your forward-thinking cap on.
  4. Management. Most people want to move up on the career ladder. No problem. However, too many times, people are promoted without any type of formalized leadership/management training. Which then results in the infamous “Peter Principle” which is when one is promoted up to the highest level of their own incompetence … e.g. you may be excellent in sales but terrible at managing people. So why not go get schooled on the best practices of business and people management?

Never rely on others to be caretakers of your career, including signing you up for industry conferences.

You need to be proactively adding 1-2 classes, workshops, conferences, etc. per year which add to your body of knowledge.

The more you know, the more indispensable you will be!

And employers hire subject matter experts. 

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