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Professional development tips: take control of your professional career


Provided by the career experts at OfficeTeam

Proud supporters of the IAAP and Administrative Professional’s Week

Professional development tips: take control of your professional careerProfessional development tips remain key, regardless of where you are in your career. Continually developing your professional skills is critical to maintaining your marketability and shoring up your job security. With business in a constant state of change, it’s critical to have a direction and prepare for contingencies. Committing to the continual nurturing of your career can help you maintain course even in the stormiest of economic times.

But don’t rely on your current position or employer alone to provide ongoing enhancement. To grow professionally and achieve success — as you define it — you must set objectives and build an action plan. Fortunately, today’s business environment provides many opportunities to keep your career in forward motion — if you know how to seize them.

Professional development tips

    • Have a vision. Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10? What kind of working environment do you prefer? Maybe you’d like to move from an inside, desk-based job to an outdoor line of work. Or perhaps you’d like to be your own boss. Determine what’s most important to you and avoid becoming so enveloped in day-to-day priorities you lose sight of the big picture and your end goals and dreams.
    • Develop a road map. To help you remain on track with your professional objectives, create a broad outline of the steps you need to take. Setting goalshelps keep you focused. Create time horizons — monthly and yearly targets as well as those with longer-term time frames. For example, maybe you’re looking to retire from your current line of work in about a decade, but you think you’d like to teach full-time after that. Your timeline might include researching over the next three months local colleges that offer appropriate credentials; slotting time to attend the necessary courses over the next couple of years; then perhaps seeking a part-time teaching role in five years. Periodically set aside time — perhaps even several days — to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and where you’re headed. Make adjustments as necessary.
  • Capitalize on opportunities. Pursue responsibilities and positions logically keyed to your goals. With many organizations running on reduced resources, there are numerous chances to take on more assignments. Look around you — are there jobs going undone for which you could volunteer? Perhaps you’ve wanted to transfer to another department which is now struggling to meet demands — can you offer your services on special projects? This would not only help you establish a foothold in that group but will also build your experience and broaden your skills base.
  • Conduct yourself with integrity. Most professionals face a multitude of ethical decisions almost on a daily basis. Recent high-profile corporate scandals have reemphasized the importance of maintaining impeccable ethics. Your reputation is the foundation for all your future successes, so keep in mind that breaches in ethics can do irreparable damage.
  • Become a better communicator. Develop the ability to listen to others; hear the spoken words but also understand the concerns and motivations they may be conveying. And when it’s your turn to contribute, strive to communicate as clearly, concisely, and persuasively on paper and in e-mail as you do in person or over the telephone. The most successful professionals and leaders typically are also the best communicators. As you progress in your career, these skills will likely be tapped increasingly as you’re faced with more challenging, sensitive or complicated situations and problems that need to be navigated.
  • Commit to lifelong learning. Take reasonable steps to stay abreast of new developments in your field. Most professional and trade associations, organizations and publications have their own websites, making it easier and more convenient than ever to stay up-to-date. Be sure to read relevant materials regularly and seek out job training.
  • Maintain and expand your network. For many professionals, networking has played an important part in their career advancement. True, staying connected with people takes time and effort — two precious commodities. But by creating an organized schedule, you can usually incorporate time to mingle with colleagues at an association meeting or another professional event.
  • Stay visible. Without clamoring for constant attention, be sure that your manager is aware of your hard work and accomplishments. Contribute ideas during meetings that can improve business practices. Remain open to opportunities that fall outside your job description, as these may serve as springboards to career advancement.

Professionals across all industries are increasingly taking ownership of their careers, proactively driving their own development and mobility. With some foresight and planning, you can forge your own career path and fulfill your personal vision of success. Be your own agent.

OfficeTeam is the world’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. For more information on OfficeTeam or Administrative Professional’s Week, please visit the website at

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