Developing Your Career

Don’t Risk Your Career by Giving Short Shrift to Development

By Greg Simpson on November 27, 2012

Competing priorities at work and at home often mean career development is given scant attention.  But simply relying on ad hoc development — a new project here, a networking meeting there, an endless reading list — may not be enough to keep your skills sharp and competitive. Instead, it is essential to have a strategic plan that focuses on developing the right skills that will help you not only achieve your career goals, but ensure you’re a valuable contributor on your team today and into the future.

Here are some development techniques to consider as you create a proactive strategy to manage your career:

  • Conduct an objective self-assessment to identify your strengths and weaknesses. As part of the process, it’s a good idea to seek input from individuals who have worked with you.
  • Identify the professional development goals you want to achieve — today, this week, this month and this year. The goals should be measurable, realistic and easily defined.
  • Share those goals with your manager and seek clarity to ensure your objectives align with the needs of the organization and that you have your manager’s support.
  • Understand your learning style and choose tools in your development plan that will be the most effective for you.
  • Be innovative in your approach to development and consider including cross-functional training and relationship building in the areas you’d like to move into.
  • Connect with those you admire and ask for a conversation to learn more about how they’ve achieved success.
  • Identify professionals who are willing and interested in acting as mentors.
  • Dedicate time to your own development and make it part of your regular daily agenda.

What one thing can you do today to further your professional development?

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