Updated: Sep 8, 2020
If you know me personally, then you would know that I am an ambitious woman. At 14 years old, I sorta had a "perfect" plan curated for my life. Go to college at 16, graduate at 20, get married at 21, have babies at 25, get my doctorate degree at 26....bla bla. I had a whole life plan written down and I worked on them. However, as we all know, life is never perfect. My plans were thwarted at 21, I did not get married! And that began my journey to finding my true self, what I really want to do with my life, what career I desire, and also ask myself a very important question: where do I see myself in 10 years?
I will ask you that same question here. Take a minute and reflect. Where do you see yourself in 10 years from today? Do you have an answer? Then write it down.
Perfect! Now that you have your career goals written, it is equally important to figure out the strategies to reach them. This is where professional development goals come in. For anyone who is like, "wait a minute, what exactly is professional development?" Don't worry, here is a simple explanation.
"Professional development can be an advanced learning, formal training or skills development intended to help you improve your professional knowledge, competence, skill, and effectiveness"
Now to the point of this post, here are simple tips to help you set and accomplish your professional development goals:
1. Have a clear and S.M.A.R.T goal.
Whether it is graduating college at 20 years old with a 4. 0 GPA or landing a job at a fortune company, you will need a map that clearly outlines how you intend to reach there. For example, if your goal is to work in a particular company, you will need start now to research what skills they are looking for in the position you hope to get hired for, and start honing your skills in that area. Basically, set a specific, measurable, attainable, reliable and time-bound goal. This process will help you measure your performance and keep you accountable to your goals.
Okay, you've heard this tip before but it is a very critical step in the process. It is not enough to set career goals or desire particular professional skills. Take it a step further and connect with individuals who are doing exactly what you envision yourself doing in a couple of years. Ask them questions about their career, and their best advice and lessons learned in that position. Also, ask them if it is okay with them if you stay in touch. This step is important because you never know when you would need their connection in applying for a job or even just picking their brain on a particular project you are having a hard time on. Sum of tip, NETWORK!
3. Get a Mentor.
Okay, I know it seems obvious that since we are a mentoring company, we will always advocate for mentorship. However, we also know that mentorship is a two-way relationship that needs to be cultivated. You will need to be willing to be mentored before you get connected with someone to mentor you. If you are struggling on where to start, of course you can totally reach out to us to start that process. But a good place to start is also with people you already know. Ask someone you trust to mentor you. This tip will save you numerous accounts of mistakes you could make in career decision making. Trust me, we know!
4. Learn a Skill!
Professional development is a process. You don't wake up overnight and become completely career ready. You have to work on it. Take professional skills courses. Now that we are all virtual, there are several options. Youtube videos are great options for you to start. Listen to great career podcasts and find out what skills employers are seeking when they are hiring. If you are confused on where to start, we have good news for you. Our virtual courses and one-on-one mentoring sessions are completely free for members. Become a member and let's help equip you for that future you desire. At our free courses, you will gain transferable skills. Don't wait, join our community of young women who are continually learning and advancing their career.
I hope these four tips are helpful? Let us know what you think of them or if you have an additional tip you think we should have added. We would love to hear from you.