No matter where you are in your career, it is important to keep ongoing professional development at the top of your priority list. It is easy to grow stagnant in a job and stop thinking about the next step. However, even if you love your current job, continuing to develop yourself professionally is the key to staying relevant in your field. By staying up-to-date on developments in your sector, meeting the movers and shakers that influence your work, and continuing to learn as much as you can, you will guarantee yourself a long, fruitful career. Here are three easy ways to get started on your personal and professional development today.
Stay Up to Date
In order to stay relevant in your field, you should show some interest in what is going on within it. No matter what it is that you do, there is a community of other people who do this and who are making changes in the field. By keeping up to date with these changes, you will be better able to talk to your peers and those outside of your industry about the larger picture of what you do. You will also have a better understanding of the direction the field is moving in. This is helpful so that you can fine tune your skills in order to grow in this direction as well, or anticipate changes in company structure. Start learning more about what is going on in your specific field by joining a professional society related to your profession, subscribing to newsletters related to the field, and networking with your peers.
Network, Network, Network
Speaking of networking, this is perhaps one of the best things that you can do to jump start both your personal and professional development. As stated above, networking with others in your field can give you insight into major shifts happening in the industry. in addition to this, knowing other people in your industry, particularly those of higher stature, can be invaluable to opening new opportunities. You can easily meet people in your field by attending networking events, conferences, and summits related to your work. Find such events through professional societies or websites that consolidate such information. GovNet Communications is a great example of a website that lists events and opportunities for the public sector in the UK.
Take an Online Course
Finally, once you have an idea of where your industry is headed and you know a few people in the field, start thinking about fine tuning your skill set. This will give you a jump start on others in your industry and potentially open doors for you in the form of job opportunities or promotions. Online courses are a great way to build your skill set because they are flexible, plentiful, and often free. Check local university websites, as well as sites like Coursera to find courses that will help you further develop your skills.