July 10, 2018
What sets you apart from your peers?
Can you speak a second language? In a room full of professionals in your field, how many are great at public speaking or understand how to work across word processing platforms? Are you naturally great at reading people, but your ability to build workplace relationships needs improvement?
Personal and professional development are seen as distinct avenues of self-improvement, but the two go hand in hand. If you're interested in creating a personal development plan or working toward personal growth, you're likely to experience a pleasant side effect of learning new skills or strengthening abilities you already have - achieving your personal goals for work.
Dr. Shanita Williams, assistant vice president of learning and development at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), said she uses a specific approach to guide her thinking when creating a personal development plan.
Williams described professional development as a series of formal, social and experiential activities that develop skills and knowledge in the workplace. To gain the benefits of professional development, Williams said, you need to be "personally committed to engaging in the growth process."
You know you want to make yourself an asset, but where do you begin?
Which avenue of professional development is right for you? "I have found that your learning style will influence how you select your professional development," Williams said. Pursue professional development opportunities that match your learning style or try to use a mix of all three. Using a combination of methods, she said, "helps to engage my head, heart and hands in my development."
Different career fields suggest different approaches to using personal growth for professional development. "Some industries require a specific number of hours demonstrating the skills in the field, while others may only require a certain number of education credits for professional development," Williams said. "These requirements vary by industry and position, so it's important you speak with your supervisor or other professionals in the field, so you have a plan that will set you up for success."
Williams said she has witnessed personal growth leading to professional development many times in her career. She's seen personal growth goals such as being a better communicator and mastering conflict management lead to professional development. "I have also seen professional development goals that have led to personal development as well," she said. "If you are truly developing, you notice things like confidence improve in various areas of your life."
Ashley Wallis is an Army veteran and writer with a BA in English Language and Literature from SNHU. She is currently living in the Denver area. Find her on twitter @AshDWallis.
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