Take Ownership of Your Career Today!

9553417_sWhose responsibility is it for your professional development? Is it your responsibility, your employer’s, or someone else’s duty?

The professional world we live in is not perfect! Wouldn’t it be nice if someone would always offer to pay you for your time, new skills, training opportunities, educational workshops/conferences, a degree, or a certification? Wouldn’t it be nice if someone would pay to build your resume so you could advance your career?

Many of us began at entry-level positions and ultimately gained enough experience, skills, and knowledge to move up the career ladder. Many personal sacrifices are made in the process especially if our jobs are dependent for survival or the survival of family members. I am surprised when I hear from professionals that because a parent, a spouse, or an employer will not pay for professional development, they simply choose to do little if any professional development and settle for keeping their skills stagnant. In the end, who do they hurt? They hurt themselves and their opportunities for career advancement.

Here are a few suggestions to consider as you think about your professional development:

  1. Many employers prepare budgets 1-5 years in advance. Have you talked directly with your supervisor and/or employer about adding professional development dollars to the budget for you to obtain certifications, education, and new skills?
  2. Have you demonstrated to your employer that you are willing to make a personal investment in yourself and that you are serious about advancing your career?
  3. Does your boss know what your career goals are so they can help to support you?
  4. Did you communicate in your interview the importance of professional development and/or negotiate training dollars in your job offer before you committed to working in this position?
  5. What is the Return on Investment (ROI) for the employer if they invest in these professional development opportunities you would like to pursue? Will you take on additional tasks because of a new skill? Will you accept greater responsibility with new knowledge?
  6. What daily “wants and needs” are you willing to sacrifice to “save extra dollars” for educational opportunities and professional development?

No one will ever care more about your professional development than you! Immerse yourself in professional development throughout your career. Invest in you! Invest in your future! Don’t wait for someone else to always pay to advance your career. Chances are you have an amazing future ahead filled with opportunities, but it’s your responsibility to get you there. If someone or an employer chooses to support those professional development opportunities along the way, awesome!

Moving your career forward happens when you become proactive. Take ownership for your career today, and don’t let anyone stop you from reaching your greatest potential!