Here’s a simple guide to identifying what you want to know and selecting programs most likely to help you learn it.
With access to so many different professional development resources today, it is not a question of if there is something available, but what is the best resource, given certain goals. As time edges up as one of our most precious resources, narrowing down available opportunities to those that will provide the most benefit is important. You want to make sure that the time, energy and effort you put into developing your skillset aligns with your overall goals (and fits within your available resources).
Based on what you want to accomplish, you may need to immerse yourself in content, relying on experts. You may benefit most from connecting with peers to gather other perspectives and ideas. Or you may benefit from reviewing articles or watching videos to deepen your knowledge.
Clearly the first step is to identify what it is you want to accomplish. From there, you can look for resources most likely to provide the best support. This will narrow down your list of options and you can put together a plan to help you meet your goals.
To make this process easier, I’ve compiled a list of potential outcomes along with the types of development offerings that would provide support. Remember, this list is not all-inclusive but provides a starting point to help you begin to think through and identify your own opportunities.
What do you want to accomplish? Here are some recommended in-person, online and self-paced development opportunities from CUES for some specific goals.
Get updates within the industry
Learn about a focused topic (technical or workplace skill)
Develop a current skill to meet the needs of my current role
Develop my skills as a leader
Develop technical skills to support me in my current role
Connect with my peers
Develop abilities to become a strategic leader
Think about what you want to accomplish in the next year or even within your career. From there, select the professional development opportunities that will be support you. Talk to your leader and your peers about opportunities that might be available internally. Use the resources available through your CUES membership or other local organizations. And you’ll be on your way!
Jennifer Stangl is CUES’ director of professional development.