4 things to ask yourself before pursuing professional development opportunities
Professional development can do more for you than just furthering your education
Thinking about advancing your career? Fortunately, there are many ways to embrace new opportunities to succeed and excel at work.
By earning micro-credentials through PowerED™ by Athabasca University, you can show your employer that you are serious about enhancing your professional skills—becoming a greater asset to the organization in the process. If you’re seeking a new job, you can also gain an edge over the competition.
Research by Athabasca University (AU) finds that 46% of Canadian workers say they are not sure how they would pitch to their manager that they should be taking some micro-credential courses.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before pursuing professional development opportunities and asking your manager for support.
1. Why should I take a professional development course?
Enrolling in a course can help you create career advancement opportunities by improving existing skills or learning new ones. It’s an opportunity to set yourself apart.
This can be a great addition to your resume or LinkedIn profile because it shows you are dedicated to advancing your career and expertise in your field. It shows employers you are willing to grow professionally and are open to new experiences. The best part? With PowerED’s on-demand courses, you can take micro-credentials that work for your schedule.
2. What are the benefits of pursuing professional development?
A professional development course can improve your professional life in several ways:
- Improve your credibility and confidence: Adding certifications or skills can prove your credibility with employers and boost your confidence.
- Learn new skills: Learning new soft and hard skills is important to career development. You can learn hard skills, which are job-specific, or soft skills, which are personal competencies such as organization or effective communication.
- Grow as a leader: Professional development courses can help you grow or become an efficient leader. They are often highly beneficial to managers and supervisors who want to advance professionally or become more confident.
- Advance your career: Professional development can help you gain access to better job opportunities, advance to the next stage of your career, earn a higher salary, and maintain an up-to-date skill set.
3. What are the benefits for my employer?
Professional development plays a major role in boosting the confidence and self-esteem of employees at organizations. In turn, these employees often report higher job satisfaction, productivity, and performance.
As an employee, you want to work somewhere where your skills are appreciated and advancement opportunities are abundant.
Pursuing professional development will also allow you to hone existing skills and develop new ones. Trends in certain industries evolve rapidly, so to remain competitive it is imperative to keep up. Companies generally want employees who are confident, willing to learn, and open to developing new skills.
Having a team with an up-to-date skill set can help companies maintain an edge over their competitors.
4. What should I expect with a PowerED™ course?
Most PowerED™ micro-courses don’t have specific schedules, meaning they work with your life and not the other way around. Typically, a certificate can be completed in 3 to 6 months. Courses are self-paced, so you can choose what works best for your schedule. All courses are online, and students have access to course materials 24 hours a day. PowerED™ offers courses in a number of areas:
- Workplace Wellness
- Project Management
- Digital Innovation
- Accessibility and Inclusion
- Energy and Environment
Once completed, many students opt to share their credentials with their professional social networks.
When asking for your employer’s support in pursuing specific courses and opportunities, educating them about the benefits of professional development is important. Sending a letter, like the one that we’ve created for you, can make the process easier.
In crafting your own message, be sure to list the benefits of the course as they relate both to you as an employee and them as an employer. Feel free to use our training request template as a starting place.