Why is Professional Development Important?

Becoming successful in your career is something everyone wants. You want to be earning more money, having greater job satisfaction, and making a difference. However, to accomplish these goals, you need to be aware of the path your career is taking and develop your skills along with learning new ones. This is where professional development comes in, but what does it mean, and why is it important?


What is Professional Development?

For those people that have left full-time education and are now in the workplace, there are still circumstances where you need to learn new skills or continue to develop existing ones. Many careers now require employees to stay up-to-date with trends and new practices, and this is classed as professional development. Some of the reasons for continued learning include: 

  • Maintaining a license to practice
  • A prerequisite for ongoing employment
  • To stay within current legislation
  • To maintain a certification

Many of these courses and refresher sessions are delivered by approved education providers. You may also feel that additional development will help increase your performance at work or enable you to advance in your career. This type of development is usually voluntary and is arranged by the employee. 


Is Professional Development Important?

Many people don’t consider investing in their career development. It is thought that one-third of employees do nothing to improve their skillset and are not worried about their future career. One reason for this could be that they are happy in their current role and see no reason to learn any additional skills. 

However, for those that want to develop their learning, this is a good factor. It means you are going to have a superior skill set than many others in the workplace. This will give you an advantage that you need to utilise if possible. 


Personal Development Helps You and Your Employer

While many people will want to use personal development to build their skill set, there are others that will also benefit. Employers are looking for those who want to learn, and have the motivation to do so. If you can show an employer that you are working on your personal development then it will increase your value to them. 

Your existing employer will be happy that you want to keep learning new skills, but it will also impress new employers. If you find that you can’t advance in your current career, then personal development will make it more likely for you to move to another job. 

Another development plus is confidence in your own abilities. You will feel more comfortable in your existing role and have the confidence to aim for a higher position. 


How Can You Improve Your Professional Development?

There are no specific ways that you can grow your skills, but you can find out which skills you need to learn. Firstly, you need to take a look at your career path and see if this is where you want to go. This could mean aiming to become a manager, or simply keeping up with your current role requirements. If you want to move to another career, then it is important to look at the skills you will need for that role. Any that you are lacking can then be found through one of many avenues. 

  • If you are interested in advancing your career at your current job, then it is a good idea to mention this to your manager. Many companies will have annual reviews and this can be the perfect opportunity to ask for their help to advance your career. 
  • Most companies will offer ad-hoc training and other development opportunities. In most cases, these are voluntary, but it is worth looking at what they can do for your development. 
  • One way to learn new skills is with a mentor. This is someone that is doing a role you ultimately want to do. They can help you by training you and giving you the skills you need. Another benefit of having a mentor is they can impart an experience that can’t be found elsewhere. 
  • If you want to stay with your current employer, then you could consider a sideways move within the company. This will give you the advantage of knowing more than one job role, which can make you an indispensable member of the workforce. 

These options depend on your career plan, of course. If you have created a plan that is sensible and has a realistic timeline, then you can easily choose which option is best for you. It is important, however, that you update your career plan when factors change. 


Examples of Personal Development Learning

Along with your career plan and searching for opportunities, there are also learning options that you should look out for. It is a good idea to look in all areas for learning opportunities as you might miss something that could have been a great benefit. 

  • Professional conferences are an ideal way to learn from others in your field. These conferences can sometimes be subsidised by your employer and become part of your annual development review. Many conferences are now moving online which makes it even easier to attend. 
  • Workshops can be a great way to learn new skills in your existing job, especially if it involves a new piece of equipment. 
  • Microlearning is another avenue that offers bite-sized chunks of information that can be digested quickly. These are particularly beneficial to those who find it hard to concentrate on long training days. 
  • Reading relevant books or listening to the audiobook versions can be a great way to add knowledge and gain new insights into your job. Your employer may have certain book titles they feel will be beneficial to you. 


These are just some of the ways you can work on your professional development and take your career to the next level. Even if you later decide that you don’t want to advance your career, the opportunities and skills you gain will still be worth the effort. 

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