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Five Strategies To Advance and Own Your Professional Development

Five Strategies To Advance and Own Your Professional Development

By Deborah Shane

What are you doing today to own your professional development? Are you doing the pulling or is someone else doing it for you? Careers used to move themselves, but today we are responsible for moving our careers in the direction we want them to go.

It’s really always been up to us to find, get and keep a job. Just a few years ago all you had to do was call a company you wanted to work for, or ask a colleague to make an introduction, and within a relatively short time you could have a job or switch jobs.

Spark & Hustle Tampa 2013

Market conditions, which were once way more favorable, have changed. Today, we need to have new skills, new rules, and use new tools.

In “How to Navigate the Human Age,” the Manpower Group discusses and outlines in-depth the new realities about finding employees and employees taking much more responsibility for their own development both in an out of the workplace.

They describe the Human Age in the context of “generational, demographic and technological shifts that have led to a new work force and workplace in the new work age, where a high value is being placed on talent as the driver of business success.”

In the report Executive VP/Chief of HRO for McDonald’s Rich Floersch says:  “What we communicate to our employees is that you have to own your development. You’ve got to be the one to do most of the pulling.”
Companies will win the talent draft by getting more serious about courting and customizing their culture. Employees need to invest in their personal value and relevance, and companies need to create an environment for continued growth, leadership and advancement. Key to this will be companies increasing their use of social media to attract qualified candidates who use and live in that space.

According to a report by Reppler,  a social media monitoring service designed to help users manage their online image across different social networks, 91% of hiring managers say they use social media to screen candidates. During the hiring process:

  • 76% use Facebook
  • 53% use Twitter
  • 8% use LinkedIn.

The most sobering statistic about social media usage that people should take very seriously is 69% of HR managers say they have rejected a candidate because of what they saw on social networking.

According to a CareerBuilder survey  hiring managers are using social media to get a glimpse at the candidate’s behavior and personality outside of the interview, and are most interested in professional presentation and how the candidate would fit with the company culture.

Here are five strategies anyone can use to ‘advance and own their professional development’.

1) Use Facebook in a hybrid way.
Facebook can be one of the most effective and diverse self marketing, branding and networking assets of all of the social platforms. Posting professional questions, article linking, Facebook chats and using the Notes Feature are all great ways to brand yourself on Facebook.

2) Brand your LinkedIn and Twitter pages content and information.
Having a content rich, branded landing page on LinkedIn and Twitter can make a strong first impression. Complete your profiles and tell your story in your job history. This makes you more personable and shows people you are serious, professional and you want to be remembered.

3) Launch your own blog or guest blog for other strategic sites.
This is one of the best ways to share how you think and show your knowledge and expertise, as well as highlight others in your field that you admire or want to emulate. Some of the free sites you can use are WordPress, Weebly and Wix.

4) Go one-on-one and face-to-face more by networking in person.
No skill set is more important than strong interpersonal skills. Practicing chit chat, conversations and talking with people one-on-one is ultimately where the magic will happen. Find reasons and ways to practice this by joining appropriate professional organizations! Please don’t forget to follow up!

5) Court a mentor and volunteer to help them.
Identify a few people who you respect, admire and want to learn from, and figure out a way to court them to mentor you. Offer to assist them with research, administrative work, projects, organization, so you can see them in action.

Review, analyze and make a plan today on how you can move your career in the direction you want it to go.

Own your development and do the pulling yourself. It will make a difference in the outcome of your career.

Deborah Shane is a top business and branding strategist, author, and professional speaker. She specializes in transitioning people into and up the business world by using the mediums of speaking, publishing, and broadcasting.

She leverages her knowledge and experience in marketing, sales, education, and broadcasting to provide a practical and accessible approach to business transition. Her focus is on helping people understand and apply basic business fundamentals in a way that is tangible, relevant, and current. She has also authored a book called “Career Transition: Make the Shift”​


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