4 Ways To Continue Developing Your Career Outside Of Work

4 Ways To Continue Developing Your Career Outside Of Work

Self-improvement has become a national hobby. On Amazon alone, for example, 134,989 titles are currently available when the search term, “self-improvement" is entered in the search bar. We are obsessed with become “better" at everything from meditation to sex, from sleep to success. Related: Why Do You Need A Career Development Plan ASAP? Professional development doesn't have to be offered by your company in order for you to take advantage of the many opportunities that are available to you. Online learning of every description is exploding right now, and as a result, there is no excuse for you not to continue to learn, grow, and hone your skills to help you prepare for your next job or promotion. Remembering the fact that “every job is temporary," you cannot afford to languish in any position for long without taking some proactive steps toward developing yourself. Here are four suggestions that you might want to consider:

1. Read.

With all of those self-improvement books available, you will find no shortage of books to read (or listen to) on every aspect of career or professional development. I would suggest that you start with a few classics such as The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey and Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude by Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone just to name a couple. Choose the area where you feel you would benefit from a good book on leadership or organization or management, and make it a goal to read for 30 minutes to an hour each day. Make it a goal to read a book that will assist you in your career at least once a month.

2. Take A Course.

Whether you take a college or university course on campus or you sign up for an online class or attend a webinar, the opportunities for learning in any venue are almost endless. Just check them out. Find a reputable institution, entity, or individual and take a course that will build your resume and help you grow professionally. Find a well known guru in your industry. Chances are he or she offers some sort of program even if it is only the occasional webinar or teleseminar.

3. Join A Professional Group Or Association.

Most professions have some sort of professional organization that you can join. You should join them and subscribe to (and read) their journals. Stay up to date on the conversations that members are having. Join their LinkedIn Groups and participate by contributing directly or responding and sharing other people's content. Staying current in this day and age is critical because change happens so rapidly. You cannot afford not to keep up, so stay current by staying in touch with your colleagues. Attend association conferences when you can. Network whenever you have the opportunity.

4. Seek Out A Toastmasters Club.

I can't write about ways to continue to develop yourself or your career without making a plug for Toastmasters. I believe that it is one of the best kept “secrets" out there today. Toastmaster members learn how to communicate more effectively, but they also develop their leadership skills along the way. Many corporate leaders are encouraging their companies to create corporate clubs because they recognize the obvious benefits of Toastmasters membership and training. If you are one of the millions of people who claim you would rather die than speak in public, Toastmasters is your remedy. Toastmaster clubs offer safe environments for learning how to recover from your fear of speaking, and your career development will grow exponentially as the result of your stretching yourself beyond your fear. Becoming a member of a Toastmasters club is a first step toward developing your confidence and competence as a communicator and a leader. Whether you consider yourself a life-long learner or not, you cannot afford to avoid growing and developing in your career. You never know when you might be needed to step up to exhibit a new skill or demonstrate a new set of competencies. If you have failed to develop yourself, you will have no one but yourself to blame if you fail to get promoted or you aren't qualified for the next great career opportunity that may come along. There are certainly other ways that you might go about developing yourself, but these are four ways that you cannot afford to miss, and you can take advantage of most of them without a lot of expense and even with a minimum amount of time and effort. You just have to decide to make continuing to develop your career skills a priority and then make it happen. This post was originally published at an earlier date. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a Work It Daily-approved expert.