5 Reasons to Make Time for Professional Development

When was the last time you read a book that was related to your career? When was the last time you watched a webinar, attended a conference, or took a course to learn a new skill?

The world around us is changing every nanosecond and it’s beginning to feel like in order to keep up, you have to stay ahead. Being a social media professional, I’ve come to realize that if I don’t set aside time each week to educate myself on the latest trends and changes in my industry, I’ll fall behind.

As you look ahead to where you’d like to be in your own career, keep in mind that continuous development and education is key. Whether you want to climb the corporate ladder, open your own business, or pivot to a different industry, learning new skills is a surefire way to get you there fast and keep yourself motivated along the way. Here are five reasons you should make time for professional development on your calendar.

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1.     If you’re not learning, you’re not growing.

Great, you have a college degree! While that’s definitely an accomplishment to be proud of, learning shouldn’t stop there.  In any industry or job, developing new skills, strategies, and techniques will only benefit you, especially if you’re looking to grow into a higher role. Before you ask for that promotion, you’ll need to bring something more to the table that justifies it. Always stay hungry to learn.

2.     More knowledge = more dollars.

I know a ton of people who have gone to graduate school with the end goal of making more money in their career. Knowledge is power. Investing in yourself now will pay off in the future. You don’t have to necessarily get another degree – utilize online courses like LinkedIn Learning or Skillshare to learn something new that you can master. Maybe it’ll lead to more responsibility for you which can mean negotiating a higher pay grade.  

3.     As your skills build, your confidence builds. 

It’s never fun to be in a conversation or meeting where you’re the only one who doesn’t understand what’s being talked about. The more you’re able to bring to the table, the better you’ll feel. I know that for me, I’d rather be overprepared than underprepared any day, mostly because it makes me feel more confident. As you learn skills that put you at the cutting edge of your industry, that confidence level will skyrocket and you’ll begin to feel like an expert at your craft.

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4.     Hello, efficiency. 

It’s not always about working harder - it’s about working smarter. You don’t always have to take a night class to learn something completely new – sometimes all it takes is a quick 5-minute Youtube tutorial to learn an Excel trick you didn’t know that will now save you hours of time. You never know what shortcuts are out there that you can adopt into your daily work routine that will make you more efficient.

5.     New interests await. 

Who knows, maybe as you dabble in that iPhone photography class or check out a library book on coding for dummies, you’ll find a new passion that you want to pursue. If you’re feeling stuck in a work rut, learning a new skill could be the catalyst for an exciting change that reignites your interest in your job or inspires you to explore a new field entirely. 

Amanda Bittner