How good are your skills? Are you up to date on the latest software programs, including mobile apps and cloud services? When it comes to industry knowledge, are you familiar with the most recent regulations, policies, and best practices?
I was in the kitchen the other day and found myself thinking “My knives really need to be sharpened”. It occurred to me that there are many parallels with our professional careers. Like kitchen knives, our skills and knowledge become less sharp over time. In order to remain at the top of our chosen professions, it’s important to invest time and energy in professional education and training. Conferences, trade shows and in-person classes offer the added benefit of networking opportunities, while online courses and training offer convenience and 24-hour access.
Conferences, Trade Shows and Classes
To identify a trade show that is relevant to your career, monitor trade journals, industry magazines, and field-specific websites for ads promoting upcoming events. Websites such as Lanyrd and Events In America are also good ways to search for shows and conferences. In addition to keynote speeches and vendor presentations, many trade shows provide breakout groups on cutting-edge subtopics.
Classes and workshops may also be available through networking organizations. Check out the website for your local chamber of commerce and peruse the event calendar. Many events are open to both members and non-members.
The advantage of attending an in-person event is that you will be able to mingle and interact with other professionals from within your industry. Exchanging ideas and comparing perspectives may re-energize you and provide you with a fresh outlook on your own challenges.
Regardless of the event you choose to attend, here is an excellent article for getting the most out of your experience.
On a personal note, I have had the chance to attend two different conferences recently and walked away with a “fire” lit and a new found passion.
Online Education and Training Resources
As mentioned previously in our post on project planning tools, the San Francisco Bay Area is a nucleus for professional education. For example, the Stanford Center for Professional Development offers certificate programs in project management, strategic decision making, and innovation and entrepreneurship. All courses are offered online, and selected programs are also available on the Stanford University campus.
Professionals in Silicon Valley and around the world can also take advantage of online-only training and education. Lynda.com is an excellent resource for video tutorials on specific software programs, as well as lectures on a variety of business topics. Access to the full site requires paid membership, but the introductory lectures to most topics are available free of charge. Finally, The Great Courses offers several dozen lecture series on topics of professional development, ranging from transformational leadership to public speaking to communication and influence. These online resources are available to you at any time, so that your education does not interfere with your lifestyle.
Are you ready to take your career to the next level? Contact the recruiters at Menlo Partners for individualized feedback on your resume, a discussion of possible opportunities, and additional suggestions for skills development.