1. Chart Your Course. To chart any course, you have to know where you are and where you want to go. While it sounds cliché, think about where you want to be in 2-5 years. What skills will you require? What knowledge will you need? Do you have the experience that will support your career objective? You might need to update your technology capabilities, add to your credentials, or take on more of a leadership role. Create a list of the things you’ll need when you get there, and start packing.
2. Take Action. Don’t wait for your company to offer a class or to register you for training. There are a lot of available opportunities through free webinars, community colleges, or mentor programs. Many colleges and universities have audit programs that allow you to attend a class for a minimal fee. While you may not earn college credit, you gain the experience.
3. Training. Take the initiative to meet with your supervisor, and share your plan. Ask for support, and for reimbursement for classes you want to take. If you manager is aware of your desire for training, it is more likely that he/she will include it in the budget, and you’ll get the green light to get the training you want.
4. Update Information. As you update your knowledge, update your resume. Even if you don’t intend to look for a new job, keeping your resume up-to-date is a good way to track your progress. Make sure you list classes you’ve attended, credentials you’ve earned, notable experiences, and the results you achieved.
5. Evaluate. As you go, make sure you’re still on the right path. Things change quickly, and trends may emerge that offer you a different route. Make sure you’re on a training path that will get you where you want to go. Or, if you change your destination, make sure you’re getting the training you need to get you there.
- What opportunities does your organization have for professional development?
- What’s the best advice you ever received about professional development?