Are you feeling limited in your current role? Just waiting for something to change? Well, here’s the news: you can have the power to make the difference you’re looking for, regardless of what stage of your career you’re at!

In education circles, it’s called ‘Continuing Professional Development’ and it’s what teachers engage in to help them be the best they can be; constantly learning about the latest teaching guidance, techniques, education technologies and so on. But there’s no reason that the same concept of ongoing self-development can’t apply to employees in a corporate environment. It’s a great way to make sure your skills are always up to date and relevant – and that you’re ready to take the next step whenever it comes up!

So what’s the plan?

A plan is a great thing to have in terms of where you see your role and career going. Even just a rough one can provide you with the goals you need to drive yourself forward. You might simply just have a few ideas in your head, but it’s also great to have a visual representation mapped out on paper or with technology. That can help give you a proper overview of your aims and objectives and help you to crystallize your route to achieving them.

Take stock of your ‘soft’ skills

Aside from the technical skills of our jobs, we use a whole other skill set every day: soft skills. These are to do with how we work. Try rating yourself on how you interact with your colleagues, manage your work and time, solve problems, communicate, listen and empathize – and this can reveal the things you can work on. It’s definitely worth putting effort into this side of your job, as these skills are completely transferable and will serve you well, whatever role you’re in.

Be proactive

Don’t sit and wait for things to happen… instead, make them happen! There are various things you can try: taking the initiative and making suggestions, volunteering for a task, turning any new challenge into an opportunity to show what you can do, reading up and becoming an expert in your area, grabbing training chances with both hands – there are many possibilities for you to take control and develop your role – and your career.

Mentor

A great way to boost your skills is to learn from those around you. A mentor can put you on the right track to achieve your personal or career goals, inspire you with new ideas, share their valuable experience and insights, introduce you to alternative ways of thinking about things, support your personal development – and so much more. The trick is to find the right person. It might not even be your manager; it could be someone who works in or alongside your team and who has the experience you could benefit from. Have a chat with them and see what you can work out. It could benefit you both!

Get learning…

These days it’s so easy to expand your knowledge in any area. You don’t even have to wait for your employer to offer training, as there are so many online courses to choose from. And lots of them are available for free! They can offer you a flexible way to study that fits in with your work and your life, plus help to bring you the career advancement you’re looking for.

Organizations like Coursera and Futurelearn offer short courses, professional or academic accreditations and full degrees from top universities across the world on a wide range of topics. Alternatively, training provider, Alison, offers free online education and skills training specifically for the workplace on subjects such as IT, sales, marketing, management, business and health – and Acas offers best practice training for employers, HR professionals, managers and employees.

Career fit and future-ready!

By taking matters into your own hands and working hard to make sure you’re as skilled as possible, you give yourself the best chance to reach your career goals. You can take charge of your development and, whether that means moving onwards and upwards at your current place of employment – or moving out! – with a little initiative, a few plans and a bit of dedication, you can forge your route to get to where you want to be.

X