How to Make Time for Professional Development

Julie Shenkman
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For administrative workers, professional development often falls by the wayside. Whether you are an assistant or an administrator, new skills can make you a more valuable employee and improve promotion opportunities. By approaching career development with a well thought-out plan, you can grow as a professional without sacrificing performance.

Busy administrative professionals rarely have time to waste on inefficient pursuits. Before you embark on a strategic professional development plan, understand the value you bring to the company. Do you calm angry callers before passing them on to an executive? Do you coordinate large projects and people across the company? Do you speak with vendors and service providers to negotiate deals? Ask your co-workers and supervisors about your greatest contributions. Then, work with an experienced mentor to help you identify the most productive development areas based on your professional goals. By spending your time wisely, you can move your career in the right direction without wasting effort.

Professional development is an ongoing process that stretches throughout your career. If you're strapped for time, long-term goals can feel impossible or out of reach. Make progress by focusing on short-term development opportunities. Read books and participate in online seminars. Join the local chapter of ASAP or IAAP and participate in evening workshops. Consider attending networking events; doing so will help you build relationships that can give you a leg up at work. Development doesn't have to be a budget-buster. If you're concerned about money, check out books from the library about business, project management or office management. Small efforts expose you to new opportunities and have a cumulative effect over time.

One of the best ways to learn new skills and expand your professional horizons is to take on new responsibilities. Choose the skills that you'd like to build, such as project management or staff coordination, and request that your boss assign you to related projects. On-the-job experience is one of the most effective forms of professional development. In the process, you'll demonstrate ambition and initiative to your boss.

If you are serious about professional development, consider using your personal time to advance your skills. Take an evening class at a community college or university; look for topics that are related to your professional goals. Many administrative professionals can benefit from training in management techniques, public relations, software or industry-specific topics. Look for programs marked with "continuing education" or "professional certification" to ensure that you will get course content that is useful for working professionals.

As an administrative worker, it is not uncommon to dedicate your efforts toward the growth of others. By taking your professional development into your own hands, you can take control of your career and find exciting new opportunities for advancement.


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article posted by Infini Kimbrough
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