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Professional DevelopmentProfessional development should always be one of your biggest priorities if you’re looking to climb the ladder to a successful career. Stagnant knowledge is not only non-beneficial to you as an individual, but it is also definitely not beneficial to your employer, and it could leave you at a huge disadvantage.

Pretty much all employers will be willing and able to invest in the professional development of their people, and it’s your job as the employee to give them a reason to do so. Be sure to mention your interest in professional development whenever appropriate with your boss, who will no doubt be impressed with your ambition to succeed in your field. It is ultimately your responsibility to ask to progress and put the work in to achieve success.

Not all is lost if your employer is not in a position to offer you financial help and/or support in your quest for professional development. There are plenty of options available to those who wish to seek them out, some of which we will cover in this article.

One reason that people tend to hold themselves back in their pursuit of professional development is a lack of self-esteem, or a lack of self-belief. Be sure to remember that regardless of whether you think you can achieve success in your career, one thing that is certain is that you won’t progress if you just sit still. Grasp your opportunities whilst you can, and you’ll soon begin to realise your potential, which will do wonders for your self-esteem in the long run.

One way you can go about progressing your professional development is to earn a recognised certificate in your field. There are often a number of accreditations and certificates available dependent on your field, and although these tend not to be the equivalent of having an actual degree, studies have shown that those with professional certificates are often higher earners than those without.

The other significant benefit to completing an industry accreditation is that you can add it to your CV, and it will be attractive to future employers. It will help you to gain a slight edge over your competitors, or any candidates going for the same positions as you who may have the same level of experience, but who have not gone the extra mile like you have. This option offers a more affordable and less laborious route to developing your professional career.

Take control of your career path by using our tips to progress your professional development

Another option would be to enrol in an online course. Online courses are often highly flexible and can fit around your working day, or even be completed during evenings and weekends over an extended period of time. These days, having access to tutors and professionals via the internet is highly beneficial in being able to get real human help, and there are also plenty of online resources that can help you achieve success.

A good tip for online courses is to mix and match your modules to correspond with skills that would be beneficial to what you do on a daily basis. Presenting a business case to your employer about your professional development will be better weighted if they are able to understand the direct and immediate benefits of paying for you to complete an online course.

Another opportunity that is often available in most industries is the chance to speak at an industry specific conference or seminar. Think about what you can bring to the table in terms of your skills and experience and pitch this to the event organisers to secure your place. Being physically present and speaking with authority in front of industry experts will not only get your name out there, but it will also help to open the doors to potential new opportunities. Being well-known with your peers in the industry will make you a valuable asset to any team, as networking truly is an invaluable skill.

Learning how to communicate publicly is a skill in itself, so even if you’re not completely confident in doing so, still sign up to speak. This way, you have a target to work towards and you can look to perfect your presentation skills, which will also be of great value to you in the future. Learning effective communication skills will help you in every aspect of your life. Giving yourself a challenge is key to your professional development. In order to grow we must face any fears we have head on and explore outside of our comfort zone. This will help you not only professionally, but will also to help you grow as an individual as a whole.

Finding a mentor is a great way to help you stay on a focussed path. A mentor who is now in the position you aspire to be in will not only be able to impart valuable knowledge on how to get there, but will also be able to open doors that you might otherwise have thought of as locked.

Your mentor needs to be someone you respect and someone that is open to your questions. Spend time with them, shadow them where possible and most importantly pick their brains to understand how they got to be where they are today. This person doesn’t necessarily have to be within the organisation you work for; it could be an industry figure, or even someone you admire from a different industry that has the key skills you’re looking to develop. Actually speaking to a human is often more beneficial than reading a text book.

If you’re looking to work on your professional development, or if you think some advice on how to develop professionally would be beneficial to your employees, be sure to take a look around our website to better understand how we can help you to achieve this.