Professional Development

3 Tips for Getting it Right

Utilize available resources

As an employee, your main objective is to mature more as a professional. This means that you constantly find ways to improve, searching for every medium that offers development.

Fortunately, there are a lot of resources available that you can take full advantage of. In fact, these resources can be available within your company, without you even costing a penny. This may include in-house training and development programs. On the other hand, you can ask your company if they offer reimbursements for paid courses outside of your workplace.

Every year, there are a handful of conferences and events that take place. Make it your goal to attend each one. However, there are other low-cost options that offer more flexibility, so you can study at your own pace. This can include online programs, recorded webinars, and books. Taking full advantage of these resources gives you a diverse range of knowledge that strengthens your fundamentals and expands your skill set.

Join professional organizations

Whatever work you may have, there’s a good chance that a professional organization exists in your field. Professional organizations are associations that act as an umbrella for employees who are working in the same or similar fields. These groups strive to foster the profession by hosting meetings and events as well as conducting research for continuous learning. They also endeavor to maintain standards by assisting their members, providing resources for professional development, and promoting their field to the government and community.

Do you want to be a part of such an affiliation? Take a look at the professional associations within your field. For example, if you’re a certified public accountant (CPA) or a similar position in finance, you can join the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), or the American Payroll Association (APA) to name a few.

Note that some organizations may require annual membership fees, while others are absolutely free to join. In either case, joining such organizations give you access to exclusive resources and tools that you won’t find elsewhere. These can include webcasts, mentorship programs, and regular updates of the latest trends in your profession. Moreover, being a part of an association expands your network, providing you more opportunities for career advancement.

Receive stretch assignments

Stretch assignments are tasks given to employees that are beyond their current roles and skills. These tasks are designed to test their limits, allowing them to ‘stretch’ developmentally. By placing them in uncomfortable situations, you force them to think outside the box, thus, helping them to learn and grow.

Here are some examples of stretch assignments:

  • Participate in the company’s strategic planning process
  • Join a team dealing with conflict
  • Delivering a presentation to a VIP client
  • Implement a new company scheme
  • Reviving a failed product or launching a new product
  • Oversee people from different cultures, gender, racial or ethnic backgrounds
  • Leading the implementation of new tools to replace manual processes
  • Performing data analysis to find business efficiencies
  • Write a policy statement

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