Professional Training or Self Teaching?

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Professional Development What we find when we are looking for our first job, a promotion or to get more engaged in our career is that our formal education only serves as a foundation for the full scope of our career. To reach our full potential, our personal and professional development must be an ongoing initiative. If we agree that education is not enough, that leadership and other career skills are best learned with education in place, it then boils down to choosing how best to learn these skills.

What is very clear is that individuals who have been out of the workforce for a period of time are finding it more difficult to return to the workforce and be productive. It is not all about technology changes. More likely the difficulty returning to the workforce is caused by a dulling of the professional skills that employers demand. Rather than bring old workers back, employees are opting for new graduates who require less pay and who can begin to build their professional skills. This is not a problem that is exclusive to the UK.

In terms of employees looking to advance their careers, one of the biggest considerations employers use to determine a candidate’s value is his or her professional development. Employees are hired with certain expectations. Excellence in their area of formal education is one of those expectations. It is their professional development that determines how far up the ladder they go, how much they earn and how much responsibility they are entrusted.

There are two ways to develop professionally. One is through structured learning and the other is through self-taught disciplines. Self-taught disciplines often boil down to trial and error, reading certain books and experience. These certainly have merit but do not carry the strength of formal development training. Self-taught implies learning independently; formal development training consists of individual and group mentoring in formal and informal environments.

Training for Employment

Personal development training is often used prior to employment, during employment and when changing jobs. Many professionals wait until they are on the job and understand the potential and challenges of the position they hold before engaging in professional training. However, professional development training is often used to help give an applicant for a new job an edge in this competitive market.

One of the many advantages of professional development training is that most programs offer a tangible certification which translates to credentialing which translates to more opportunities. In reality, our careers teach use what we need to improve. It is usually our responsibility to show the initiative to develop professionally. Once we grasp the culture and get a feel for our responsibilities, we can seek professional mentoring to ensure our productivity and to pave the way for career advancement. Assuming two individuals have equal formal education, the person with the professional development training is the individual who will progress, make more money and shoulder more responsibility.

Professional Training vs. Self Teaching

Professional trainers can hone leadership skills, communication skills and analyse the individual’s strengths and weaknesses in an objective manner. This is very difficult for the individual who self-assesses and who pursues self-betterment. If you are serious about your career, invest in professional development training.

Kiran Madan of Index Technologies says; “Promotions and positions rarely fall into your lap. If you want to improve your circumstances, remember to dedicate yourself to improving your professional and technical skills to be successful.”

Today, more and more employers are leaving this training to the individual workers. Those who pursue the training advance, and those who do not receive formal training do not!

Personal development training creates a wider range of promotion possibilities and makes the individual more important to the business. Ford Myers of MarketWatch says; “Promotions are not random. You create an environment in which you increase your chances dramatically. New knowledge will be vital to earning a promotion. Follow industry trends, and put yourself in a position to learn more about what is going on in your field. You want your résumé to show that you have the skills you need for the job you desire.”

The personal development skills most needed are beyond the job-specific knowledge that formal education usually qualifies an employee for a position. Interviewing skills, communication skills, planning skills and many other skills separate one candidate from another.

Investopedia reports that when there is a shortage of qualified labor, employers tend to pay more for qualified workers. Bringing a new employee on board can be an expensive proposition. It is the employee’s responsibility to always be the most qualified individual in the employer’s mind. That does not mean the longest tenured person, the most popular person but it does mean the most professionally developed individual. Are you doing your part to get that raise, to be a better provider? Enrol in professional development training today and pave the way to a bright future.

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