Written by: Julia Mitchell
Maybe you're a recent graduate who just landed your first entry-level job, but you're already considering your professional future. Or perhaps you've been working for the same company for several years, yet you feel like your career has stagnated, and you're ready for something new. You can accomplish your goals by crafting a professional development plan and consulting educational resources! Here's how to create an impressive resume, define your personal career goals, and even get your own business off the ground.
Update Your Resume
If you're interested in job hunting to move forward in your career and take on new challenges, you'll need to update your resume before sending out applications. However, you don't have to design the perfect format yourself - instead, you can use a free online resume maker. Start by browsing a library of templates designed by professionals, and simply choose the format you like best. Next, you can add your full work history, including an image, and even spruce it up with a color scheme or graphics.
Maybe your professional development vision doesn't involve working for someone else after all. If you're interested in starting your own company one day, it's a good idea to learn about the different business structures you can choose from. For example, a small business owner might opt to register their company as an LLC in order to establish limited liability, enjoy flexibility, and benefit from special tax perks. This process doesn't have to be expensive, either - instead of hiring a lawyer, you can simply submit your documents through an affordable online formation service. Research your state's requirements for LLC formation before you start collecting your paperwork.
Determine Specific Goals
First, you'll need to think about exactly what you want to achieve - and don't be afraid to get specific! For example, if you're unsatisfied with your current role and you want to work somewhere new, don't just write down that you want to get a new job. Instead, consider what kind of company you want to work for, what you'd like in your new title, and your salary requirements.
Break Down Objectives
Next, it's time to break down your goals. For instance, maybe you've nailed down exactly what type of role you want, but now, you need to figure out exactly what you'll have to do to land it. This could include earning specific certifications, learning new skills, or returning to school to complete another degree.
Map Out a Timeline
You've written down all the steps you'll take to achieve your big goals. Your next project involves creating a realistic timeline to cross off each one of these individual tasks. First, give yourself a reasonable deadline for your overarching goal, such as landing your ideal job within one year. Then, work backward from this date to figure out when you'll need to complete all of the smaller steps toward your goal.
Keep Learning at Work
You may not need to look far to find professional development opportunities. In fact, you'd be surprised by how much you can learn in your current role that you can apply to future jobs! On the other hand, you might feel like you're always overlooked for exciting projects and bigger responsibilities - but have you been proactive about seeking out these opportunities? In order to be considered for weightier tasks, MindTools recommends offering your ideas more often in meetings, participating in more workshops, seminars, and conferences, and simply asking your manager if there are any other projects that you could contribute to. You never know what the answer will be until you ask!
Pursue Further Education
Education does not necessarily stop after you graduate from high school, college, or even a master's degree program. Instead, you should commit to deepening your education and pursuing ongoing learning throughout your life. For example, you may want to take online courses, sign up for in-person classes that meet on weeknights or weekends or even look into earning another degree if it would help you achieve your career goals.
Education is an essential aspect of professional development, and today, it's easier than ever to keep learning new skills for the sake of your career. Moreover, by broadening your skillset, you can become an attractive candidate for a wider range of roles.
Find a Mentor
Working with a professional mentor is invaluable, especially in the early days of your career. But you can benefit from connecting with a mentor at any age!
Don't get discouraged if you don't know where to start looking for a mentor. You can begin by thinking about higher-ups in your current workplace who you already have a good relationship with. Furthermore, WayUp recommends looking into mentorship programs - your company may have a program like this, or you may need to search online. Your mentor can give you personalized advice from their experienced perspective!
Independent Learning Opportunities
Finally, you can pursue learning opportunities outside of the workplace for your professional development. For example, you could reach out to local nonprofits and volunteer your services. If you'd like to learn more about social media management but you won't have the chance to do so in your current role, you could offer to manage a local charity's social media presence for free. Alternatively, you could provide freelance services. If you're interested in landing a job that involves more writing, you might want to start pitching your services to businesses that need assistance with writing projects. This is also a good idea for aspiring graphic designers or web designers.
Achieving your major career goals takes time and effort. But with a clear, comprehensive professional development plan, you can figure out exactly what you want to accomplish and take steps toward your biggest dreams. By following these tips, you'll be able to write a resume for job hunting, master new marketable skills, and launch your own company!
Photo via PexelsWritten by: Julia Mitchell
When we think of learning and getting an education, we tend to think of schools and classrooms. While it is true that much of what a child learns happens in school, kids sometimes fall behind and need extra help catching up. Concerned parents often look for ways to boost their child's understanding of varying concepts but need to know how to get additional help. In addition, kids who are reluctant learners may resist traditional methods, which may help to find alternative ways to promote learning.
One of the best ways to encourage learning is to weave it into other fun activities. For example, parents with young children can help boost math skills by creating a treasure hunt with clues that involve math problems. Playing store with household items and real money can help kids learn how to make the change and practice problem-solving skills such as want versus need. Fun math apps for kids of all ages, games, and online programs can help your child learn and practice concepts while having fun.
If your child is struggling with reading, apps and programs are specifically dedicated to phonics, spelling, and reading comprehension. In addition, educational video games can help with critical thinking, math, and reading abilities. For the best gaming experience, make sure players have their headphones -- to avoid disturbing each other and anyone not playing -- and ensure your internet is up to the task. Most areas are now equipped with 5G, which offers ultra-fast speeds. High-speed internet can help you get the help your child needs, but if you need clarification on what is needed, it may be wise to seek professional guidance.
Children and adolescents can have a difficult time with learning, and it may not be entirely clear what barriers are getting in the way. One cause may be the home environment; if your child doesn't have a defined area where they study, consider setting up a "learning nook" that they have creative control over. It's important, too, that all negative energy is cleared out of the home, energy that may be impeding learning and the fun aspects of acquiring new skills.
If you notice that your child is struggling and would like to understand the underlying challenges they experience, consider having them assessed by a professional in the field of education. As you explore assessors, look for someone who is experienced and credentialed in assessment for your child's age range. According to the Learning Disabilities Association of Alberta, assessments can uncover learning disabilities and preferred learning styles, which can reveal important strategies for helping your child get the education they need.
Math Geek Mama notes that hiring a tutor can also be a wise investment in your child's education. Schools sometimes have lists of trustworthy tutors, and some teachers offer assistance after school or during study halls. Online tutors can be a helpful alternative if your child requires a certain type of instruction or teaching style. Accessing instructors online also enables you to expand your search beyond your area, which increases the odds of finding a well-qualified tutor who is a good fit for your child. Learning can be exciting for kids if their interest is piqued. Consider extracurricular methods of spurring interest in learning outside of school.
To better understand how to shape learning, you should also consider going back to school to pursue a degree in education. Honing your own skills and knowledge can be a gateway to improving kids' opportunities for growth. Skills you'll develop include instructional practice, learner development, and knowledge in particular subjects. Online degree programs make it easy to work, parent, and keep up with your studies. As you look at your options, check this affordable program that's administered by an accredited college that allows you to enroll 12 times throughout the year.
If you can spark a child's curiosity, they will be happy to learn. Sometimes it is a matter of finding the right in-roads. Trips (whether in-person or virtual) to museums, observatories, and historical sites are great ways to promote learning outside of the classroom. Children with special interests and hobbies may enjoy researching the roots of those interests and learning how the items were invented and made. Often in the process of learning about these topics, kids find out more about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), and this curiosity may prompt additional interest in these subjects and their applications.
While the above resources are a good starting point, there are many ways yet to get kids excited about learning and get help for areas in which they are stuck. Going back to school yourself to learn more about how to better help with their learning is a great start. Plus, monthly subscriptions to chemistry kits, mysteries, and coding projects can be a fun way to explore topics in new and unusual ways.
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