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10 Easy Ways to Boost Your Professional Development Today!

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By Tammy J. Halstead, M.A., Director of Alumni Advising & Development

It is National Career Development Month!  Positively impacting your own career growth and development doesn’t have to be an unmanageable commitment.  In fact, implementing bite-size professional development activities throughout your week and month can produce significant results. To help you craft a personalized development plan of your own, check out this list of 10 great ways to build your professional acumen, and add a few to your calendar – TODAY!

1.     Attend a presentation of the F&M Alumni Webinar Series.  Upcoming webinars include, “Developing Business Relationships that Work!”, “The Art and Practice of Mindfulness”, and “Writing Effective Personal Statements for Graduate & Professional School”.

2.     Review your LinkedIn profile.  Does it speak to your strengths and the ways you add value as a professional?  Consider adding a summary or project section to demonstrate value more effectively.

3.     Listen to a professional development audio book.  Getting to Yes, by Roger Fisher & William Ury teaches negotiation and problem-solving strategies that everyone should know.

4.     Set a goal.  Dedicate 30 minutes to reflecting on your career path and write a goal statement for one thing you want to accomplish in the next year.  Keep that goal in a visible place.

5.     Dust off your resume.  If it has been a while since you updated your resume, set aside 1 hour this month to make it happen.  View sample resumes and CV’s here; and, have your resume or CV reviewed by an F&M Alumni Development Adviser.

6.     Make one new connection.  Attend a networking event or simply introduce yourself to someone new at the office; ask how their career experiences led them to where they are now.

7.     Expand one existing connection.  Ask a colleague out for coffee or request a phone conversation with a LinkedIn connection; make professional development and sharing the focus of the conversation.

8.     Join a LinkedIn group.  Look for groups related to your professional experiences or interests; it is a great way to connect with and learn from others in your field.

9.     Connect with fellow alumni.  Your F&M Regional Chapter is a great place to start! 

10.    Get to know your Organization.   Dedicate small blocks of time to learn more about your current organization.  Knowing the needs, challenges, and goals of the institution you work for will help you find ways to align your strengths with those needs… a win-win for everyone!

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