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Craving Professional Development? Read This...

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Our most recent survey reported that 63% employees seek professional development, yet only a select few companies offer it. Companies are also looking for candidates who are the jack-of-all-trades but aren't willing to provide the training in order to get there. What's a job seeker to do? You can either take it upon yourself to broaden your education and position yourself to become an invaluable employee, or not. Either way, the choice is yours.

Not all employers provide opportunities

... for professional development. Companies that are moving at the speed of light may not have the bandwidth to provide additional tools to help you expand your skillset. Once the training process is over, it's up to you to decide what you can figure out on your own and what you'll need assistance with. Our Job Market Report says only 33% of employers provide professional development opportunities. If you’re lucky enough to work for a company in that 33%, it’s your responsibility to take advantage of the tools at your disposal. Attend that lunch and learn or after-hours workshop, even if it means missing happy hour. If you want to take on new challenges and work autonomously, show your employer you can handle things you may not be 100% familiar with by learning them in your spare time. Your company doesn’t offer the exact training you’re looking for? Take the initiative and suggest a course you think would be helpful!

Self-starters & problem solvers stand out

Managers look to reward those who are self-starters and problem solvers. So as mentioned above, it's important that you assess the severity of the challenge you face before running to your coworkers or manager for help. Asking for help is commended but using Google to look up a quick fix may be better. Sometimes your professional development can consist of watching a 30 minute tutorial on YouTube. Other times it could take researching the best educational opportunity for a 12-week course. Either way, if there's something that continually stumps you in the office, instead of remaining confused, take the initiative to educate yourself with an online or in-person class. You'll impress yourself and your manager!

The more skills you have the more valuable you become

Another reason why it's important to be responsible for your own professional development is that ultimately you're the only one who will suffer if you don't. Simply put, if you don't perform at the level of expectation you were hired upon, you will be replaced. On the other hand, if you exceed expectations by acquiring new skills, the more valuable of an employee you will become. There is no harm in expanding your skill set but there is harm in staying stagnant in your career. If you want to reach new heights it's up to you to get there.