The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in the United States mentioned that, as workers’ educational attainment increases, their earnings increase while unemployment rates decrease.
In 2019, BLS reported that the median weekly earnings of workers with a doctoral degree was $1,883. On the other hand, employees with less than a high school diploma earned $592 weekly.
Individuals pursuing career advancement may consider these salary opportunities in their decisions.
Aside from earning a higher income, why should you work on developing your career? What are some ways that can help advance your profession?
Readers, especially those with career goals, can learn the importance of professional development and the various goals these individuals can pursue to achieve career growth.
Career development goals and how to pursue them
An essential part of career advancement is setting goals for your professional development. These goals can be anything, from working to achieve higher sales to getting promoted to a managerial position to becoming a director of a large corporation.
One path with a likelihood of achieving those goals is setting actionable goals you can work on daily.
Furthermore, long-term pursuing professional goals can help you achieve your personal goals, such as getting your own car, opening a new business, or purchasing a home.
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Having identified your career development goals, you have various ways to work on achieving them. These goals can include obtaining a degree or certification, improving the way you communicate, and attending workshops relevant to your career choice.
1. Obtain a Certification or Degree
Workers in today’s workplace must develop and maintain their skills to keep up with technological advancements and changes in the industry. Many of these workers can become concerned about falling behind, and this situation can cause a lot of anxiety for them.
How can these workers keep their skills relevant in a dynamic work environment?
Traditional degree programs are a great credential to enter the workforce. However, these programs often don’t adapt quickly enough to keep pace with technological innovations in the industry.
Obtaining certifications is one way to cover this gap.
Certification programs help keep workers’ skills updated and relevant to stay current in the workforce and advance their careers.
The employer should invest in the advancement of their employees to produce a positive talent ROI. To do this, businesses can save money on different fronts and allocate those resources towards employee development and certification. One of the ways to do that is to open a digital bank account to minimize traditional banking expenses and fees, and ensure savings on conversion rates, maintenance, and more.
The benefits of getting a certification and why workers need to grow their skills continually are the following:
Increase your knowledge about the industry: Getting concrete knowledge relevant to your industry is one primary benefit of certifications.
Whether you’re brushing up on the skills that you already have or pursuing a new field outside your expertise, getting a certification lets you pick up technical knowledge and relevant information about the industry’s best practices and trends.
For example, not only do real estate agents need to take licensing classes in the state they wish to sell real estate in (i.e., Texas), but they also can’t legally sell real estate without it. If they want to sell in multiple states, they may need to take a separate exam before they can.
That added knowledge can also open a path to more professional opportunities and increase your credibility in your field.
Ensure that your career is future-proof: Earning certifications in crucial skills relevant to your industry can ensure that you’re equipped with the latest knowledge.
One way to advance your career and keep it future-proof is to get certification for new and sought-after skills. Doing so can help you, and your organization be more prepared for future developments and move in the right direction.
Investing in yourself: Many employers today focus more on skills than job positions or degrees. Degrees typically tell the employer that the applicant took the course. However, certifications help prove one’s skill level.
For instance, an applicant may have a bachelor’s degree. However, the applicant will likely be unqualified if their skills aren’t what the employer wants to keep the company moving forward.
The more credible and well-known the degree program is, the more likely it is effective at demonstrating your competency.
Furthermore, employers are likely to take seriously applicants who complete a nationally- or globally-recognized certification with respected standards.
2. Improve Your Workplace Communication Skills
Most jobs require human interaction, whether it involves talking with customers or your managers. By developing strong communication skills, you can interact with others better and enable you to do your job more efficiently.
The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) surveyed 400 companies and suggested that each company loses an average of $62.4 million annually due to inadequate communication.
When open communication exists, employees can feel their voices being heard by the upper management. This situation can motivate the workers about themselves and the organization they work for.
However, a lack of communication in an organization can produce a disgruntled and demotivated workforce.
Communication is vital at all levels of an organization to maintain stable working relationships. When employers provide open lines of communication, it builds trust among employees, eventually leading to a boost in productivity and improvement of morale.
3. Pursue a mentor in your field and meet regularly with them
The importance of mentorship in the workplace can’t be understated. Numerous studies have shown that it propels your career trajectory. Those with mentors are promoted 5 times more, and 25% of employees with mentors in one study saw a salary increase versus only 5% of those who didn’t.
Mentors can be trusted advisors and coaches that point out blind spots, hold us accountable to reaching our goals, and encourage us during tough times. Not only that, but they open doors for us. By building a relationship with a mentor, they want to see us succeed and connect us with those in their network who can help get you to that next level.
Mentors are different from life coaches as they're not paid professionals who help you pursue your goals. Instead, they're role models you look up to.
Finding a mentor can be challenging, though. It’s not as easy as asking an executive to meet with you every week. But there are concrete steps to follow when looking for a mentor. They advise us to start slow with an introductory meeting and continue to follow up over time. With frequency and consistency, the mentoring relationship will grow.
4. Attend Workshops Related to Your Current or Future Career
Workshops gather individuals with similar interests, professions, or expertise in a specific field or industry. Such activities often involve research or discussion about a particular subject.
Workers can benefit from workshops in the following ways:
Offering a fresh perspective on resolving issues: Workshops and seminars can help address common issues or problems many business professionals regularly face.
When workshop participants share their thoughts and insights on ways to resolve such issues, they can also offer fresh perspectives for approaching these problems.
Improving their skills: Seminars or workshops can help workers develop skills to make them more proficient and capable of facing new challenges.
For instance, a human resources (HR) personnel seeking to become an HR manager can attend leadership seminars to obtain management skills.
Network for your career: Besides having the skills to get the job done, getting hired often depends on who you know. For this reason, you should consider establishing a network whenever you can.
Some workshops allow you to network with companies that provide potential career opportunities.
For example, you can become a member of an association comprising professionals with the same career as you and who help other members land jobs in relevant industries.
These groups can also provide you with resources, such as certification opportunities and review materials for licensing purposes.
Importance of Career Development
How is career development essential for your professional growth?
The following are some reasons workers consider pursuing career development:
Helps establish a vision for your future: Some employees may know what they want to do next month or year. However, others do not have clear long-term career goals, such as where they see themselves 5 or 10 years from now.
Establishing career goals allows you to identify your long-term aspirations and begin taking action to reach those aspirations.
Hones your current workplace skills: There is always room to grow or improve even if you think you’re doing great at what you do at work.
Even professional athletes continually train despite winning victories to remain fit and ready for the next competition.
You can apply the same concept in the workplace by continually honing your current skills so that you can become better and grow in new and unique ways. Such pursuits can help you succeed in your career and become a better employee.
Encourages you to become a better employee: An organization values employees dedicated to their jobs and the development of their careers.
Instead of only showing up to work and completing the duties expected of you, consider taking time to improve in what you do. Doing so can create a positive impression on your employer, opening the door to career advancement within your organization.
Improves your productivity: When you have a goal in mind that you can work towards, that goal can bring a stream of motivation and boost your workplace productivity.
You’re likely to achieve these benefits more quickly if you don’t think about your goal as one enormous task. Instead, separate that goal into individual tasks and work to complete each task one day at a time.
Plotting your tasks this way can make you progress gradually, even if you take small steps, and keep you motivated and productive to get the job done.