Person A works for a company where, on your first day, you're thrown to wolves. You have to figure out where everything is, what to do, where the training coursework is, yadda yadda.

Person B works for a company where, from the start, there are defined training programs and career paths. Everything is mapped out, nothing is left to chance.

However, regardless of which person you are or which type of company you work for, at some point, you'll need to take the reins on your own professional development.

Below are six ways to help yourself grow professionally. 

1) Take any and all available training courses offered 

Start with those most applicable to your current role and then expand outward to other areas of interest. If your manager doesn't see, or isn't notified through the system, your completion of these courses, be sure to send them copies of your completed coursework. It shows them that you are motivated, that you want to continue learning, and your other areas of interest. 

2) Read books geared towards your industry or role

Ask your manager for their input on the best books to read, even if you have some ideas on where to start. Again, it shows that you are interested in furthering your knowledge and professional development.

3) Ask your manager for feedback on what you can improve

If you're unclear on the steps you need to take to improve, push for further guidance. If you're constantly being rated as a Meets Expectation but want to be seen as an Above or an Exceeds, ask what it takes to get there. Push your manager to be specific and/or suggest you be paired with a peer who rates as such to guide you there. This shows your manager your drive to succeed and add value to the company.

4) Let them know you want more

If you have aspirations for a different role within the company, let your manager know and ask to job shadow the role. This gives you the opportunity to see if you are truly interested in the role, as well as provides you a chance to ask questions regarding the role, etc. It also shows your manager that you're willing to help direct your own career path, which is a huge help to them.

5) Ask your manager for special projects

This provides you with the opportunity to learn something new, as well as gives your manager the chance to delegate some of their job duties. Be careful to only do this when you have enough time in your schedule to dedicate to the project.

6) Always be open to taking on new tasks 

Don't allow yourself to be set up for failure. By this I mean ensure that you receive the appropriate training for any new task. Don't allow yourself to be rushed through for the sake of time. Ask all the questions you need to ensure you understand the task thoroughly. By being open to new tasks and not apprehensive, you show confidence in your abilities, and that inspires others to have confidence in you as well.

If you want more professionally you have to have a plan to get it. So the questions is what do you want to accomplish this year and how will you do it?

Published on: Jan 20, 2016
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