Most of us in the communications industry landed our first job because of the college degree we earned and internships we took on. Although you might think all the learning is done once you get that graduation cap, there is usually much more to learn once you are in your career.
In this industry, basic things we learned in college, or even in our first six months on the job, change constantly. Facebook continuously comes out with new advertising policies, new social media platforms are emerging or dying, the way publics consume news changes frequently and media is evolving each and every day. Continuing our education with regular professional development allows us to stay on our toes ready to learn.
Here are a few ways to ensure you are getting your regular dose of professional development:
Find a mentor
Think about influential people in your industry or maybe just someone you look up to professionally. This doesn’t have to be anything formal – maybe just a meeting over coffee once every month or so. Use this time to learn from someone who has been in your shoes before to discuss your professional and personal aspirations and gain insight on how they overcame obstacles in their career.
Keep up with trends
Find blogs, podcasts, webinars and events/conferences that will help you stay in the know on the trends within your industry. For communications professionals, some great sites to keep bookmarked are PR Daily, Ad Week and Entrepreneur.
Speak to a group
Take your skills on the road by speaking to a local college class or professional group about best practices, trends, etc. within your industry. Are you a digital specialist at your agency? Speak about best social media practices or new trends within digital marketing. This allows you to further hone in on those skills and become the subject matter expert. It will also boost your confidence when speaking to leadership within your company.
Be a part of the community
Get involved and surround yourself with professionals within your industry by getting involved in local professional development groups such as OKC Ad Club, Ad 2 OKC, Public Relations Society of America and American Marketing Association. Joining groups such as these are a great way to make friends within the industry, expand and strengthen your network and develop your career. It’s a great resume builder and provides the opportunity to give back to your community and industry.
Set aside time for yourself
Block off one to two hours a week to dive into your professional development by watching a webinar, reading a blog or working on a skill you are striving to further develop. Making sure that you have a set time to knock these kinds of items off your list is an effective way to ensure you are growing professionally.
Enjoy your time learning!