May 21, 2024

Making the most of your summer: how to start growing professionally

3 min read

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If you’re looking for ways to enhance your skills, summer is the perfect chance for you to start focusing on ways you can grow professionally.

Professional development programs can help you become a better communicator and leader, and they also can help you develop the skills you need to succeed in your current position or help you land a new one. 

And if you’re an employer looking for professional development opportunities for your team, you’re in the right place. Forbes notes that, “When employees feel cared for by their employer, they offer greater loyalty, productivity and engagement to their organization.” 

Here’s what you need to know. 

Choose skills to focus on 

When you’re ready to start building those professional skills, choose one or two that you’d really like to focus on. When you narrow down the scope of your desired skills, you’ll be better able to select opportunities for personal growth. While there’s nothing wrong with thinking, “I’d like to become a better teammate,” consider narrowing your search to be more specific. Searching for professional development opportunities that help you with communication skills or leadership skills is going to return more results than a broader search. 

If you’re looking for something at the local level in the Johnson County area, K-State Olathe offers several skill areas you can choose to focus on depending on your needs, including: 

Professional development opportunities at our campus are offered on an ongoing basis, so if you don’t see something scheduled that you’d like to take, check back or reach out to our professional development team to find out when you can sign up for the next session that you’d like to participate in. 

Create a plan 

Whether you have one goal for improving your professional abilities or multiple skills you’d like to level up, create a plan for success. 

Getting organized and outlining what skills you’d like to develop and when can help you stay on task. This can also help you create a well-rounded schedule when it comes to attending professional development programs. 

For example, if you’re interested in becoming a stronger communicator, signing up for a webinar on communication skills can pair nicely with an in-person workshop or professional coaching. Similarly, if you’re looking for ways to develop your lab skills, an all-day workshop can provide you with a strong framework for success, especially when you follow it up with similar programs and supplemental learning, such as webinars. 

Seek local opportunities 

One of the trickiest aspects of finding professional development opportunities is that you may not know where to look. If you begin searching online, chances are that you’ll find a wide variety of options that may not be offered in your local area. Aim to center your searching on local opportunities. This ensures that you’re able to find something that is tailored to your specific area.  

Attending a local professional development event also means that if there is a networking activity attached to the event, you’ll be able to talk with people in your industry that also work in your physical location. 

Professional development opportunities not only provide you with a chance to become a better learner, but they enable you to become a stronger employee. When you’re looking for ways to fill your summer with beneficial programming, start by asking yourself, “Where do I want to get better?” Once you identify the skills you’d like to improve, you’ll be able to navigate your professional development opportunities to become a stronger, more marketable employee. 

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If you're ready to start planning for upcoming professional development opportunities, don't wait. Visit our website to see what's on the schedule and how you can get involved.

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