Jumpstart Your Own Professional Development

Paige Buchanan, Recruitment Specialist

2018 Korn Ferry poll of nearly 5,000 professionals stated the top reason people were looking for a new job was “I’m bored, need a new challenge.” When looking at that statement, I wonder how many of those professionals tried to develop themselves or if they were waiting for someone else to challenge them. Like with many things in life, when it comes to your professional development, you are your greatest advocate.

I firmly believe a lot of people are ambitious and want to excel in their career. However, we seem to have a hard time conveying that notion to our leadership. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by a Harvard Business School professor found “most people – 82% of them, indicated they were fearful of making their expectations known to others at work. They thought of their ambitions as something to hide or minimize.” Of course, there are various factors as to why we can be fearful of stating our expectations to our colleagues and leaders. Perhaps we have imposter syndrome, (the perception of) office politics or maybe we don’t even know where we want to grow within our roles/careers. Personally, I relate most to the latter statement, but I want to develop myself even though I don’t know exactly where I’m going. And that’s okay.

Below I’ve provided action items on how you can start developing yourself. Some of these are from personal experience as well as the numerous blogs and articles I’ve read on the subject. Keep in mind, these tasks can be more difficult in a pandemic and it’s understandable if you’re just trying to survive on a low power mode. If that’s the case, bookmark this for six months in the future.

  • In the next 1:1 with your leader, have an honest conversation about where you see your career going and ask for their feedback.
  • Talk with members of your team and get insight into what they want within their career.
  • Seek out other people on campus who have interesting roles that you want to learn more about, whether they are within your department or another. Ask them if you can shadow them for an hour or two.
  • Find a mentor, on or off campus.
  • Ask if you can take on a more challenging job duty or project.
  • Apply for Leadership UCO (LUCO) or the Management Development Program (MDP).
  • Utilize the numerous courses in our learning center.

I encourage you to take a deep dive and research professional development best practices and resources. There is so much content and activities out there waiting for you. Remember, you are the only person who can drive your professional development. So, if you have the time and energy, start with just one of the action items listed above.

I’m always here if you have any questions and I am genuinely happy to assist. You can email me at pbuchanan@uco.edu or send me an MS Team’s chat.

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