Invest in Your Career
In this day and age, learning can't stop with a degree — the drive to stay on top of new trends, new technologies and the competition has many people doing what they can to maximize professional training and development.
Continuing professional development is also something that companies value, which is why many of them will offer to pay for various training courses and even formal education. You'll want to talk to your employer about your professional development options, then find a program that will meet both your learning objectives and theirs.
What to Look for in Professional Development
Professional development programs can take many forms. Depending on your budget, your time and the blessing of your employer, these are some of the options you can pursue:
- Seminars. Seminars typically last no more than a day, and are a quick and easy way for employees to get professional career development. Often, companies will bring speakers in to talk to a group of employees, but in other cases it is more effective to have an employee attend a specific seminar.
- Training Courses. Training courses are the most common form of professional development. They can last anywhere from a weekend to a year, depending on the type of training. Often, they are done online, allowing employees to keep their work schedule and work at their own pace.
- Formal Education Programs. Though it's rare for a company to pay tuition for an entire degree, diploma or graduate studies program, some are willing to cover partial costs and may be willing to allow a flexible work schedule while you attend.
- Conferences. An important part of professional development is networking in your industry. Many companies encourage employees to attend conferences, so they can bring back the latest innovative ideas and information on developing technologies and trends.
Getting Professional Development
Often, the search for professional development opportunities will start with your employer. You'll first want to have a discussion about what skills you want to improve on and what learning will best help you in your job. You'll also want to understand what goals your company has for you in taking professional development.
If you want to find your own opportunities, start by looking around your market space. Look online for conferences in your industry, professional career development institutes with programs you're interested in or use social media tools to see what other professionals in your field are involved in.