5 Professional Development Strategies to Take Your Career to the Next Level

A young professional smiling and looking at her laptop

Are you looking for ways to turn your responsibilities into career advancement opportunities? Be strategic and proactive and give your professional development a boost. 

First things first: Let’s talk about professional development and professional growth. These terms are often used interchangeably — but they’re not one and the same. Professional development refers to training and other ways to gain knowledge. Professional growth takes that knowledge to the next level with practical experience — it’s how you turn what you’ve learned into results such as improved skillset, greater responsibilities, promotions or job changes, and greater career fulfillment. 

So — how can you gain that practical experience and grow your career? Read on for five strategies for success. 

1. Master Your Current Craft or Job 
Consider the knowledge, experience, and skills required for you to excel in your current role — are you on track? Are you already there?    

2. Become an Industry Expert  
Be sure you’re familiar with the jargon, processes, and trends that will allow you to better demonstrate your capabilities. Go above and beyond the scope of your job — showcase your accomplishments to help yourself stand out from the crowd (it’ll boost your self-confidence, too).    

3. Consider Mentorship 
Mentor others, find a mentor for yourself, or both. For example, taking the next step in your career might mean you’ll have to manage people. And mentoring others can help you can develop management or leadership skills (it’s a win-win — you’ll learn something new and help others). Plus, explaining something to someone else can really solidify how much you know, and help identify gaps in your knowledge or skillset.

4. Seek Out New Opportunities
Volunteer for different projects at work and show that you’re willing to jump in when needed, collaborate with and support your colleagues, assist other departments, expand your professional network, and step outside your comfort zone — all while continuing to excel in your current role.    

5. Build a Diverse Community

A strong professional community is beneficial, but it's also important to surround yourself with a diverse group of individuals outside of work — people who can provide new perspectives and honest feedback to help you grow. 

Looking for more? Watch our webinar, Let’s Talk: An Action Plan for Career Growth.



Bright Horizons
About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
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