Not only does professional development and continued education provide a gateway for you to enhance your skills, but it’s also important for better client service. Getting involved in the community and continued education is a life-long effort that requires ongoing work. However, as subject matter experts in our field, it’s so important to stay in-the-know about the latest best practices while simultaneously being well-connected too.
Professional development opportunities showcase our commitment to our profession and demonstrate that we continuously hone and refine our craft. It also helps with staying top-of-mind in the local community.
Sometimes you need to be challenged to grow – as an industry leader and as a professional. Set yourself apart from the rest of your field with little more than a few hours per week of intentional self-investment.
Here are 7 ways to take control of your professional and leadership development:
Join a Professional Organization: Fortunately, both Richmond and Hampton Roads have a TON of professional organizations to join, including industry-specific organizations such as the Richmond Ad Club, PRSA, and AMA. We also think it’s important to get involved in organizations that don’t necessarily involve advertising and marketing. Just recently, we joined the Hampton Roads Chamber, which is a great place to network and meet potential clients. Getting involved in a local organization and attending their workshops, happy hours, luncheons, and more is a perfect way to meet new people in the area.
Read Regularly: Read widely, not only about current events but also subjects that can broaden your horizons. It can be beneficial to subscribe to daily emails in your local, national, and industry-specific news outlets. Start off your morning reading the news and industry-related tips so that you’re well-informed of what’s taking place in the world. Some books that we love and recommend are How Brands Become Icons, Blink, and Originals.
Attend Training Programs, Workshops and Conferences: Attending workshops and conferences provide insight on industry trends and tools that can then be applied to daily work!
Take an Online Course: Most online courses are offered on a flexible basis, allowing you to work your continuing education into your busy life. Now, you can go to YouTube anytime to grab a quick, five-minute presentation from an expert in your field. Similarly, TED Talks cover every topic under the sun, and LinkedIn Learning offers thousands of online courses on a variety of creative and technical topics. Although we also listen to podcasts for entertainment, they are increasingly being downloaded for educational purposes as well. Some of Jeremy’s favorite design podcasts include The Futur,Design Cuts The Honest Designers Show, and 99% Invisible.
Enter Industry Awards: Awards showcase your talent, creativity, and company culture! From Top 40 Under 40 to projects of the year, every industry offers awards opportunities. They can be time consuming to craft successfully, but they are a great credentialing tool when executed correctly. Check out a few of the awards we’ve won over the past 20 years on our website!
Engage in Speaking Opportunities: Volunteering to speak at conferences and seminars forces you to develop how to communicate clearly and compellingly in real time. More importantly, it gives you a platform from which to trumpet your unique perspective on your industry. With that increased level of notoriety, you’ll set yourself apart from your peers and, thereby, make yourself more valuable.
Share your Skills with Nonprofits: Share your time and talent with nonprofit organizations. Whether it’s writing, providing strategy tips, or sharing your network to benefit a cause close to your heart, the value cannot be matched!
Take the opportunity to invest in yourself. By working on your professional development, you’ll ultimately strengthen the backbone of your business, skills and client work!