6 Ways to Find Professional Development When Your Employer Isn’t Helping

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Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers! Have a question you’d like to ask? Leave it in the comments, and you might just see it in the next installment of Recruiter Q&A!

This Week’s Question: Let’s say you’re a passionate employee who really wants to advance their career. Only problem is, your company doesn’t offer much — if anything — in the way of training and development. What would you do to help yourself develop your existing skills and learn new ones when your employer isn’t really helping?

Linda1. Find a Mentor

Employees can create their own opportunities to learn by seeking out interesting jobs within the company. Once they locate a position that holds their interest, they should ask the person in that position to become their mentor. Most people are flattered to know when someone thinks their job is interesting. This will also give an employee the opportunity to learn more about their coworkers, and it creates an avenue to learn a new skill. Maybe the employee’s actions will show management that professional development is desired.

Linda Murray Bullard, LSMB Business Solutions  

David2. Try the ’90 Day Periscope’

The key to success is to take responsibility to find how to create new value in your organization in a short time. I call the process the “90 Day Periscope,” because it’s designed to refocus attention above the daily noise to accelerate new personal growth opportunities.

The process starts with first asking about the top three pain points your organization is currently struggling to overcome. These pain points can be found in many places; the most obvious way to find them is to ask your supervisor and colleagues.

By identifying and documenting the top three pain points in your organization, new personal development opportunities will naturally present themselves. You should position yourself as a resource to attack those problems, even if your contribution might be modest at first.

David Christophersen, ClubHugger, LLC  

Gayle3. Do Some Good, Old-Fashioned Reading

Reading has become a lost art. Many professionals claim they just don’t have the time — but motivated professionals who want to learn make it a priority. Make it a habit to read books or industry publications and journals. If you like to learn by listening, listen to audiobooks or CDs.

Gayle Lantz, WorkMatters, Inc.  

Christine4. Get Certified

If your field offers professional training, certifications, or credit hours, then it’s worth your time and investment. If you can’t develop at your current company, most likely you need to start developing those marketable skills/certifications now to position yourself for a new role at a better company with better growth opportunities. Do some research and find reputable programs that offer training, certifications, and online courses.

Christine Santacroce, Recruiter.com  

Grow2(b)5. Join Professional Communities Online

When I’ve faced this situation, I’ve joined online discussion forums that focus on the topics I wanted to learn more about. Being involved in professional discussion forums made it easy to show my boss that I was progressing professionally. Taking a leading role in the forums by starting and facilitating discussions added even more evidence of this growth.

Arron Grow, Ph.D., School of Applied Leadership at City University of Seattle  

Aaron6. Seek Out Professional Associations

Some companies will pay for association memberships, as this typically comes out of marketing budgets. And with associations being nonprofit, they offer tons of courses either free or at low costs.

Aaron Udler, OfficePro, Inc. ; Email Aaron 

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