Tuesday Tips on Careers:
Are You Owning Your Professional Development?
First I’d like to thank Steve for the invitation to join him for Tuesday Tips on Careers, I appreciate the opportunity to engage with this great group. I’m a proponent of proactive professional development and believe that we should BE SIMPLYREADY for the life of our careers and that the onus is ours.
Professionals too often rely on the advice of management or human resources departments in isolation to guide their professional development. Feedback and guidance from management and HR are very important to our performance at our present place of employment; however, if you rely on it in isolation you may be doing yourself a disservice.
Management and human resource professionals usually provide guidance in the context exclusive to the work environment and use processes and tools that may not focus on leveraging your strengths, improving your weaknesses, and guiding your development as an individual who will likely encounter additional career transitions and this is understandable—you should own your professional development. This includes preparing yourself for the transitions you will likely experience throughout your career. Consider the following questions:
- Who are you relying on to manage your career?
- Do you set professional development goals independent of your work environment?
- Are you receiving guidance that will positively impact your career throughout the entire time you plan to remain in the workforce?
Consider the activities you’re involved in outside of work. You may volunteer at your child’s school, serve on a committee or community board, or volunteer with a charity. If you are involved in such activities, it’s likely that you’re adding value and growing your knowledge and skills and using portions of these in your work environment. Your role at your place of employment may not position you to manage others yet you manage others within the charities you serve. Such experiences are excellent ways to continue to your professional development and may serve to your benefit should circumstances change and you need to change places of employment. Proactively pursuing professional development opportunities unrelated to your current position can help you grow and potentially help you discover new interests and talents.
Competition for jobs continues to be fierce for many occupations. If you were just informed that your employer was letting you go would you be prepared to transition into a new position within a time frame that meets your needs and preferences? Consider the following:
- Can you communicate the value you offer to a variety of potential employers within various work environments?
- Have you participated in professional development activities independent of your work environment to the extent that you are prepared to transition into a new position within a different industry?
- Do you have a robust and engaged professional network?
- Do you maintain a professional presence on key social media sites? (LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, etc.)
- Are your biography, resume, and online profiles current and branded consistently?
- Have you positioned yourself as a “thought leader”?
If you answered “no” to the majority of the questions above there’s no need to panic but there’s also no better time to begin proactively managing your professional development. Even if you don’t anticipate that transitioning into another position will be a reality for you given your circumstances, you may decide to proactively own your professional development to improve your performance, enrich your professional network, and strengthen the extent to which you help others with your thought leadership.
I welcome your thoughts and the opportunity to connect.
Connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/tuesdaystrong/.
Tuesday’s realization of the importance of combining performance management with personal branding leveraging technology occurred as she progressed through a personal branding program offered by the Indiana University Alumni Association. Having been a proponent of proactive professional development for nearly twenty years, the concept of personal branding came naturally to Tuesday and her blog (http://tuesdaystrong.com) was the result. Tuesday’s goal is to continue her development while providing others with a progressive approach to career management. Learn more here.
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