The Four P’s of Professional Development

Are you actively seeking a new role in your company? Do you want to take every available opportunity to improve your personal and professional future? Most people will answer these questions with a “yes,” yet many don’t know how to go about professional development on their own. And although some companies offer professional development programs for their employees, others rely on their employees to find and complete career advancement efforts on their own.

Whether your company partners with employees or leaves them to find opportunities themselves, you should do what you can to take hold of your own personal and professional development. By using the four P’s of professional development, you can focus on several areas of your life to put yourself in the best possible position to excel—both in and outside of the workplace.

Practice perfection

Of course, perfection is all but impossible; very rarely do any of us reach the absolute pinnacle of our careers. Nevertheless, assuming an attitude and work ethic that demand perfection is one way to work towards your goal of excellence in the workplace and beyond. The key is to set goals that are specific and designed to force you out of your comfort zone. This will push you harder to succeed.

Striving for perfection requires that you work hard, smart and consistently in every aspect of your job. If you make a habit of giving each work project every ounce of effort you can, management will likely take notice and consider you when they need an employee for a leadership or specialist role. A hard worker is an asset to any company—and once your practice of perfection becomes a habit, your path to promotion will be clearer.

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Participate in everything

A company’s culture is shaped by the people who work there. Depending on your company’s culture, participating in meetings, conferences and out-of-office events can change the way your coworkers and supervisors see you. If you have the time to attend events, make a point of putting them on your calendar. Whether it’s company-sponsored charity events, after-hours mixers or a few extra hours to meet a tight deadline, your dedication to your job won’t go unnoticed. As your coworkers get to know you on a personal level, they will be more willing to help you on a professional one.

It’s also important to make time for networking as well—online and in person as well as with other departments in your company. You already know networking is important, but don’t ignore the network around you every day within your workplace. Networking internally and being active in the culture of your workplace can make a significant difference in how your coworkers and supervisors perceive you. It can also help you shape and enhance your personal brand.

Pursue knowledge

There’s something most successful professional discover after years in their fields: lifelong learning is critical to staying at the top of your game. This means you’ll need to find ways to keep informed about your profession: new methods, new ideas and, as technology advances, new devices and electronic tools. Making learning a priority is an essential element of both professional and personal development. Sometimes this can mean independent study in the industry, or attending seminars or events when they are offered. Whenever you have a chance to pursue knowledge in your industry, take it! Beyond attending seminars, you might also consider a formal degree. Adding a master’s degree to your qualifications can improve your ability to get ahead in your career.

Put yourself out there

Whether you are aiming for a promotion or re-entering the job market, visibility is key. And thanks to social media, you now have a host of options to consider when you start to create your personal brand. Consider taking a three-step approach to making yourself visible and crafting your image: embrace social media, interact with your coworkers and meet new colleagues in your industry. If you already have an online presence, consider removing photos or other items that might be confusing or offensive to potential employers or colleagues, and update your networks regularly with relevant content.

Aside from social networks, simple outreach to colleagues can be especially valuable. If people in your industry don’t know you’re looking for new responsibilities or positions, they won’t be able to share those options with you. Put yourself out there, but not in an obvious or dramatic way. Open yourself up to mentoring, mention that you are interested in greater responsibilities, and then see what comes your way.

Professional development doesn’t happen by accident: it takes clear goals, attention to detail and a willingness to communicate with the people around you. It also takes diligence and a desire to work hard to improve your career, your connections with your colleagues and your commitment to success. The four P’s of professional development can be an ideal launch pad to take off to your next professional achievement.

Discuss This Article

Comments: 2

  • Nicole says:

    Thanks for the article Thomas. You have raised some valuable points.
    You mention removing photos from your online social media presence as they may be confusing. Could you please explain what you mean by this?
    Also, you mention meeting new colleagues as part of part of your 3 step approach, is that through social media or do you suggest other means?
    Thanks for your feedback.

  • Professional Development says:

    The 4 P’s of Professional Development principles presented above is very informative and a good option as well to be followed. I have my own study as well about Professional Development and i find your article also can significantly relate to it.
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    You are free to visit it and learn from it. Thanks a lot for your article Thomas.

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