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What is Professional Development?

A smiling woman presenting in front of a whiteboard.

Setting ambitious goals for yourself in your career will benefit your personal and professional growth. Working towards accomplishing these goals will not only better equip you for your career, but it can increase your job satisfaction and sense of accomplishment. In order to further yourself in your career and achieve your goals, you need professional development.

Professional development involves learning new skills to grow in your job or career. While some jobs have specific requirements in order to advance in a career, there are many methods of professional development that can be beneficial for everyone.

Let’s take a look at the importance of professional development and the methods available to achieve it.

People working around a table together with laptops &  notebooks open

Importance of Professional Development

Professional development is important to you and your employer. It proves that you have the skills needed to take the next step in your career. Also, it shows that you are dedicated to accomplishing the goals you set for yourself. That’s not all though, there are many reasons why furthering your career through professional development is important to you and your employer.

Why Professional Development is Important for You

Professional development will help you hone your skills and teach you new ones. Career-related skills can be broken down into two major categories: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are considered the technical knowledge that you can get through formal education and training. These types of skills are typically job specific, and can include knowledge of specific tools, programming languages, or softwares.

Soft skills are personal traits that contribute to how you work by yourself and with others. Some examples of soft skills include:

  • Creativity

  • Critical thinking

  • Adaptability

  • Organization

  • Willingness to learn

  • Emotional intelligence

Check out our article on the top workplace emotional intelligence skills to learn more about emotional intelligence and how it contributes to a healthy and happy workplace.

Both skill types contribute to an effective employee and are necessary for career growth. Hard and soft skills can be furthered with professional development.

Why Professional Development is Important for Employers

Employees that seek out ways to further themselves professionally will contribute to forming a stronger team. This is particularly beneficial to employers, as their team will be more productive and more satisfied with their job. Employees who take advantage of professional development strategies can increase their performance, skill sets, and overall morale.

Employers recognize the benefits of professional development, and they encourage their employees to take part in it. It can be hard for an employer to find and keep quality employees. Employees that take part in professional development are more likely to be hired and promoted, due to them being a more qualified candidate.

Overall, professional development is mutually beneficial to an individual and their employer. Now that we have recognized the importance of professional development, let’s take a look at how it can be achieved.

Lists of professional development benefits for employees and employers.

How to Develop Yourself Professionally

There are many ways you can pursue professional development. The first main way is through continued education. Continuing your education and earning additional degrees is a great way to broaden your knowledge and distinguish yourself from the competition. Additional degrees may also open you up to higher positions and higher earning potentials. With the prevalence of online course opportunities, it has never been easier to obtain an additional degree.

If you’re looking to advance your career through continued education, REDC offers a variety of online courses that can broaden your knowledge and set you apart from the competition.

Certifications are another great way of furthering your education and setting yourself apart. Obtaining a certification requires less time than a degree, and many certification courses are offered online too. While some certifications can be considered an added perk, some jobs require them for career advancement. In the case of business analysts and CDL HAZMAT drivers, certifications are a necessary stepping stone in professional development that is needed for career advancement.

While higher education is one way of furthering yourself in your career, there are other ways of achieving professional development that you can take advantage of.

Two people having a discussion over coffee. Text: the benefits of networking.

Professional Development through Networking

Building connections with other professionals in your career field is an important part of professional development. Networking with like-minded individuals can open the door to partnerships, mentorships, and new opportunities. Conferences, conventions, and classes are all great ways of learning new skills and establishing new connections.

Professional Development through Informal Learning

There is a ton of information to be learned outside of the classroom that contributes to professional development. Reading books related to your career is one way to acquire unique insights from industry professionals. Webinars, podcasts, and articles are other ways of staying up to date on industry standards and furthering your job knowledge.

Professional Development for Managerial Roles

Professional development for management requires a unique set of skills. Not only do managers have to have a broad knowledge of their industry, they also need to have an extensive knowledge of people skills. Learning how to manage people and projects can prove to be a difficult task, and there are classes and certifications that are uniquely designed to develop management skills. Alongside classes, it is beneficial for managers to connect with other leadership roles to learn necessary skills and maintain employee expectations.

REDC offers management courses that can teach you the necessary skills to be an effective leader.

Further Yourself to Further Your Career

Professional development is necessary to improve yourself professionally and advance in your career. Not only will you broaden your knowledge, but you will gain invaluable skills that are needed to achieve your professional goals.

Continue reading our next article for an in-depth look at the benefits of professional development.

At the REDC, we have a large number of career resources to help with your professional development. This is a great place to start if you’re looking to advance in your career or connect with a new network.

Home LinkThe REDC is a Division of Yavapai College.Go to yc.edu

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