To be an effective employee or employer, you have to have the skills necessary to do your job in the best possible way. But when you spend 40 or more hours per week working and still have other responsibilities at home or within your community, it can be hard to find the time or energy to work on professional development. Luckily, if you have the desire to learn and grow, there are ways you can integrate this type of development into your life without having to sacrifice too much of your free time or your current financial standing. To show you how, here are three ways you can improve on your professional development.
Make Learning A Priority
If you’re serious about improving on your professional development, you have to make this learning and improvement a priority in your life. As with all other areas of your life, if you don’t make improvements and changes a priority for yourself, it simply won’t happen naturally.
To help yourself make learning more of a priority, Joel Trammell, a contributor to Inc.com, suggests changing your mindset so that you’re always trying to learn everything you can from every situation you’re in. This means that rather than viewing challenges as something to merely overcome, you now view them as a chance to learn and grow in your professional life. Additionally, if you set time aside each day or week to develop yourself, either outside or inside your current career, having this development actually take place is much more likely to happen.
Try Job Shadowing
For those who currently have a full-time job, a traditional job shadowing experience may not be a viable option for you. Very few employers will simply let you stop coming to work for a while so you can learn more about working for a new company or in a different position. However, if there is someone you know either within your company or in a different company who has the type of professional development you’re looking to acquire, Alexis Grant, a contributor to U.S. News and World Report, recommends either traditionally or non-traditionally shadowing that person. If you can’t actually get in there and shadow them while they’re working, try to set up a professional relationship where you can come to them and ask questions about their job and the way they got to where they are now. This relationship and the information shared within it could prove to be invaluable to you and your professional development.
Build Up Your “Soft Skills”
Although you may have primarily been focused on the skills and knowledge you would like to learn as a part of your professional development, David Hassell, a contributor to the Huffington Post, shares that developing soft skills is just as important for the modern worker. While it is important to know how to balance a budget or create a marketing campaign, it’s also crucial to your ultimate professional success that you know how to interact well with others.
If you’re not sure what qualifies as a “soft skill”, these attributes could include things like communication, motivation, empathy, time management, and more. Because these are more habits and ways of being as opposed to things you learn and do, developing these soft skills can often take a while and be harder to do. Knowing this, the development of soft skills may be something that you’re constantly working on for years and years rather than just taking a class to build up your knowledge of. But once you’ve honed your ability to use these all-important soft skills, they can help you immensely in furthering your career and becoming the professional you desire to be.
If you’re looking for ways you can develop more as a professional, regardless of what career you currently find yourself in, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you do just that.