Many employers know that one of the keys to attracting and retaining top talent is providing opportunities and incentives for employees to grow within their company. But what not enough employees know is that it’s their own responsibility to utilize these resources—as well as others available to them, outside of the workplace—to further their own career and professional development. Rather than waiting for the company to provide a training course for a certain skill, for example, an employee seeking to further their skillset should pursue further education on their own; likewise, if the company does provide training, they should sign up for it rather than waiting until it is directly required of their position.
While many companies are now focusing on investing further in their talent, it’s important to ensure you don’t become complacent with your own career, skillset, and overall professional image. Just as you should be proactive when seeking a promotion or beginning a job search, you should also take the reins in enriching your personal brand as a whole.
To start, use your resume as a point of reference. Analyze your skills, work history, and education. What hasn’t been updated in a while? Are there any sections of your resume that have remained stagnant for a long period of time? Too often, many professionals will leave the information framing their work experience on their resume, such as their skills and education, untouched while only updating their experience. If this is the case for you, it may be time not only to update your resume but to invest in your education.
This doesn’t mean you have to return to school for an advanced degree, if you don’t feel that this is the best option for you; instead, take a class, attend a seminar or webinar, or seek mentorship from a successful colleague or leader in your field. These are all great ways to add to your skillset and overall industry and subject matter knowledge.
Likewise, consider becoming a mentor if you’re at a stage in your career in which you have something to share or teach. Though many see a mentor-mentee relationship as exclusively beneficial for the mentee, that’s not the case; there is a lot to be learned from other professionals in your field at any level! By becoming a mentor, you’re adding yet another great talking point to your resume as well as affording yourself the opportunity to share with and learn from another industry professional with a different set of skills and experiences from your own.
It’s important to remember that investing in your professional development is a long-term journey rather than a means to a short-term goal. While these steps can certainly assist in obtaining a promotion or whatever your next goal may be, they are ultimately ways to continue enriching yourself as a professional—whether that be as a job candidate, employee, or leader. All professionals at all levels should be working toward bigger and better things; never become complacent in your career, no matter how comfortable you are!