In today’s ever-changing market, companies have no choice but to evolve. In times of change, employers rely on forward-thinking, solution-focused employees. Those who contribute to their organization beyond the job description are considered value added employees. They impact the organization in meaningful ways and become indispensable to the company’s success. They are open to change and new information and act on the new knowledge gained.

Think of yourself as a lifelong learner

Put your “student hat” back on. No matter the years of experience under your belt or the challenges you have overcome, there is always something new to learn. Reflect on the projects that you have been most excited about. What energized you about the work? Identify your areas of interest and capitalize on them.

Find sources of wisdom

Blogs and podcasts

Notable influencers often utilize blogs or podcasts to share ideas or interview other professionals. Both mediums are a quick and easy source for information or recommendations. Whether listening to podcasts during your commute or browsing your favorite blogs with your morning coffee, taking time to slow down and learn something new is a nice opportunity to get inspired.

Participate in social media

Twitter and LinkedIn are great resources for information as well as expanding your network. Often, professional conferences or seminars will use a hashtag on Twitter to help connect attendees with one another. On LinkedIn, you can join a conversation or groups based on industry or topic.

Keep on learning

Take advantage of free online courses

Also called MOOCs (massive open online course), there are dozens of websites that offer free online courses. While there is often a fee for the final certificate of completion, most are free to join.

  • EdX – Launched through a partnership between Harvard and MIT, the site includes courses from hundreds of universities, covering topics from data science to leadership. Check out their edX For Business platform with courses focused on professional and workforce development.
  • Udacity offers industry-specific courses and nanodegrees and is focused on skills-based courses for professionals.
  • Class Central is a repository and search engine of MOOCs across a variety of databases. The site tracks the most popular courses across the web and offers reviews per course.

Participate in conferences and webinars

When things get busy, it is easy to push off professional development opportunities as low priority – but professional development is not only important for your company or organization, it is an investment in yourself.

Share the wealth and speak up

As you find interesting information, pass it along. Share your ideas. By providing context and examples, your contributions will be legitimized. Share articles on your LinkedIn page, or send an email to colleagues. Others will see you as a content expert and a source of information. When you return from professional conferences, take time to share what you learned with your team. They will appreciate being involved and you will be furthering your company’s investment by dispensing the information further.

Looking for strategies to get ahead?
A career coach can help you navigate your professional development. Check out our executive coaching services and sign up for a free consultation here.