Professional Development: it’s the buzzword that we always hear and are told to practice since the day we walked into our first jobs. It’s also going to be that way for our entire professional lives, so if you’re a YoPro and are already tired of hearing it…you might want to get used to it!
Regardless of how overwhelming it is when you are drowning in work and one million new professional development opportunities seem to pop up every week, the good thing is there are countless ways to grow as a YoPro. And that’s why you’re here, right? I’m here to help you maximize these resources and professional development tools to make you a well-rounded YoPro. To help me help you, I’ve brought in a few YoPros who have shared their experience with me. I hope you will take away a few nuggets of information that you can apply to your next window of professional development time.
1. Get certified in something.
Tigi Bah, 26-year-old General Manager of Beverage Operations at MGM Resorts in Las Vegas, Nevada, used the added time she had in result of the earlier pandemic days to study and prepare to be certified. At one point, she even started reading Wine For Dummies and The Flavor Bible, both books she suggests for anyone interested in the food and beverage industry. With her passion for event planning, she decided to get certified to make her stronger at her current job at MGM.
2. Learn valuable skills to become more desirable in the workplace.
In other words, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” This quote is from Adam Granger’s story released in the earlier timeline of the pandemic in April 2020. The 27-year-old Assistant to the Executive Coordinator at a Church in Decatur, Georgia, (and YoPro Know Ambassador) shares the opportunities for added learning. When his story was released, our world was nowhere close to returning to "normal". As our world begins to show some semblance of pre-pandemic life, I believe we can still take advantage of these opportunities, like Pluralsight, LinkedIn Learning, and CreativeLive; we just have to be more selective with our time. As Adam puts it, investing in your career capital can be cost effective and it makes you more desirable in the work industry.
3. Always try to expand your knowledge and understanding in areas in your field.
Even if it's not an area within your specialty. Just because you are in marketing, doesn’t mean you should only know marketing, right? Mike Beiermeister, a 26-year-old Reporter and Anchor in La Crosse, Wisconsin, says that you should expand your learning efforts because you never know where it might lead you. As Adam mentioned in tip #2, get on LinkedIn Learning and just learn. If you work in Chemical Engineering, learn about Environmental Engineering just to give yourself a chance to see how the other side works. Again, it will make you more desirable in the workplace.
At the end of the day, professional development is really just investing in yourself. And as Sarah Henning in Nashville, Tennessee shares with us, individuals who focus on their knowledge skills and self-awareness are the ones that create a long-term career for themselves.
It’s no secret that you have to work on professional development, but the question is how you do it when there are a lot of options out there. I'll give you a few personal examples of the professional development opportunities I am taking advantage of right now:
I am currently reading a book called Business Made Simple. 60 Days to Master Leadership, Sales, Marketing, Execution, Management, Personal Productivity and More by Donald Miller. This is to help grow my business, The YoPro Know;
Simultaneously, I spend a few hours each week with my AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) mentoring group to better myself in my Development Director role with the Greenville Area Parkinson Society;
I read the Morning Brew newsletter every morning to get up to date on the economy, politics, and social affairs in our world;
I can’t forget reading for pleasure, either. That is another form of professional development that gets left out too often, I’m afraid. I’m reading Friends and Strangers and it’s great to just read something for fun.
Whatever you decide to do, just do it for yourself. Not anyone else. Because remember, you are in control of your career capital.