5 Tips to Enhance Your Professional Development

The world is full of ideas today, if we don’t do it somebody else is going to do it.”
Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo

If you take a look at this quote, you can see it highlights the very important concept of enhancing your professional development. In the realm of communications, there are several opportunities and ideas out there to take advantage of. Seeking out new information is one step closer to advancing not only your clients’ status but also your company’s reputation. As the quote above suggests, in order to stand out amongst the competition you must be willing to be proactive in your personal and professional life.

As a public relations intern, I’ve observed how crucial it is for my team to continuously brainstorm ingenious strategies and pitch new ideas for our clients. However, I realize that sometimes coming up with these ideas isn’t the easiest task. I’ve found that being aware of the latest trends and current events is helpful in creating content that is relevant in the public space, but also helpful in developing strategies in the professional space as well. Since these strategies directly involve our clients, it is crucial for us to continuously develop ourselves professionally, as this will result in providing insightful and innovative ideas to our team. To help you bring great ideas to the drawing board, I’ve come up with some tips on how you can start improving yourself professionally and really stay up to date with industry news. Read on below to learn some steps you can take in order to make time and strengthen your professional development skills.

Research, Research, Research. I’ve found that online courses can be extremely helpful in getting an in-depth lesson on a specific industry topic or tool. By utilizing online webinars and courses, you are given the option to truly learn whatever you’re researching at a pace that you are comfortable with. Plus, they generally provide a certification upon their completion, which instills a nice sense of accomplishment. Instead of traveling to an event, online resources save me time and in most cases money. Some resources I have utilized and plan on educating myself on are HubSpot Academy, Google Analytics, InVision and Facebook BluePrint. Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing are examples of topics I educated myself in HubSpot Academy, which resulted in a certification. Specifically within this module, I was walked through how to use online tools in order to improve my analytical skills with blogging, including Quora and Buzzsumo. Additionally, webinars are a great way to further educate yourself, as they provide you with the opportunity to hear from industry thought leaders and other professionals within your career. Webinars offer you the chance to interact with the experts by asking questions and seeing what others participating in the webinar have to say. By searching the web for new online resources, this opens to the door to a number of opportunities to improve yourself professionally.

Sign Up For Newsletters. There is no better time like the present to start becoming more aware of current events. All those newsletters and email copies you create and distribute have the purpose of gaining consumer interest in your brand. If you feel as though you don’t have the time to watch the news or read news releases due to your busy schedule, I recommend you sign up for newsletters. Some of my favorite newsletters, which are easily accessible to me in the mornings, are Good Morning America, PR Newswire and ProfNet. These newsletters are delivered right to my inbox and allow me to quickly scan what is going on in the world of communications, without taking too much time out of my day. Narrowing down your search to relevant and specific topics through newsletters, will save you time and keep you up to date on the latest industry news, which long-term can help bring some discussion within your team meetings. 

Join A Professional Organization. Sometimes, it isn’t what you know, but who you know. Another tip for advancing your career development is getting involved with a professional organization. By attending networking events, you can surround yourself with people who are successful in your industry, which might have you discover a new opportunity for you and your company. You can also utilize this professional circle to promote any events your company may be hosting. By being involved with a professional organization and sharing news within the group, you have the opportunity to broaden and increase your audience. Public Relations Society of America and American Marketing Association are some of the widely known organizations for communication professionals.

Investigate The Competition. This is key to determining the areas that you or your company can target to make an impact in your industry. By becoming aware of what your competition has done, you can focus on what they’re not doing to set yourself apart. Analyzing this information, will help you determine where your efforts are needed the most for improvement both within your company and your clients. A tip for this could be making a list of everything you have already learned and comparing it to a list of everything your competitors have already done. Your ideas won’t be unique if they are the same as your competitors. Being aware of what your competitors invest their time and money in will help you in the long run.

Create S.M.A.R.T. Goals. It can be overwhelming wanting to take advantage of all these great opportunities. You start to realize that you might not have the time to participate in everything you want to do. Making time within your busy work schedule is essential, as this will lead to excellent results. So, I encourage you to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely with your goals so that you set up challenges that allow you to grow, but also can be achieved which is equally as important. Watching a webinar during your lunch break to scheduling time during the day to utilize a conference room, are some of the ways to use your time wisely during the work week. The way I plan for making time for all the resources is by making a long-term calendar plan. I review my list every now and then to review if these courses are in line with what will benefit me the most. Remember, as much as you want to learn everything, you need to give yourself time to process the information you just learned. Give yourself time to apply what you learned to your tasks and test out new ways to go about completing your tasks.

I hope these tips are helpful and provide insight into how your professional development leads to success. Updating your knowledge of this industry could lead to your next best idea and advance your company above the competition.

To learn how R&J Strategic Communications has launched successful campaigns for its clients by applying superior professional development expertise, click here.

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About Amanda Emmer

As a public relations intern for R&J Strategic Communications, Amanda provides support to the real estate, technology, nonprofit and healthcare teams in all things public relations, assisting with everything from industry research to press releases. Amanda graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications and a minor in Legal Studies from Ithaca College. Amanda possesses a passion for learning new things and participating in professional development related activities.

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