Fundamentals of Professional Development

Professional development involves improving yourself to excel in a work environment. There are various aspects of professional development. While it is not necessary to possess all to perform well in your career, constant enhancement of at least most aspects is an added advantage. The following are some fundamental factors one can work on, to enhance professional development.

  1. Basic education: Completing college/high school is very critical for professional development. While there have been multiple cases of high school drops making it big, a solid foundation is still a valuable tool to have. While the education one gets is useful, the whole school/college experience is highly valuable. Such environments prepare young minds for the corporate world. Handling competition, leading a team skillfully and tackling failure are some of the practical lessons that one can learn from academic institutions.
  2. Specialization: Having a specialization degree/diploma is always an added advantage. Contrary to popular belief it is never too late to get a specialization. In fact it might make more sense to specialize after having worked a while. This helps a person understand the corporate world better and truly comprehend what their area of interest is.
  3. Self Motivation: Corporate politics exists in all offices big or small. One must never let this hamper professional growth or let that lead to de-motivation. Having a positive outlook is key to motivation. Staying away from office gossip and maintaining open communication with everyone is also important.
  4. Presentation Skills: Irrespective of the role and type of organization, most people at some point are forced to make a speech/presentation at work. This could be a full fledged presentation to a group of clients or it could be a simple one on one discussion with a superior. Presentation skills play a valuable role at such occasions as an employee who can articulate clearly and confidently is an assent for the company.
  5. Creativity: In an increasingly competitive world, employees who can think out of the box are being valued more and more. Creativity is beneficial for both the employer and the employee. While creative and unique ideas help the company grow, they also make work interesting for employees and keep them motivated.
  6. Having a hobby: Pursuing a hobby outside work can actually have a positive impact on your career. Enrolling in a music/arts club or course can help beat stress and encourage a balanced lifestyle. A stress free life also enables one to perform better at work.
  7. Having a mentor: Seeking out a mentor for career guidance is common practice. A mentor need not be from the same organization. A superior from a previous work place or a professor from college can also make good mentors. Having a mentor outside your work place can be more beneficial as their advice will be more un-biased. It is important to remember that while a mentor guides and advises, major decisions should be made only by the individual. Choosing a mentor is also a difficult task. The mentor should be open minded and have a fair idea of the current corporate environment.