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    Development Made Easy

    Development Made Easy

    Understanding professional development goals

    Setting goals for professional development is an important part of advancing your career. Whether your goals are to be more productive at work or become the CEO of a corporation, the only way to get there is by setting actionable goals you can work on every day. Here we explore what professional development goals are, why they are important, steps you can take to set this type of goal, and several examples to give you ideas when creating your own professional goals.

    What are professional development goals?

    Professional goals are goals you set that are focused on improving your career and increasing your competencies and capabilities in the workplace. There are several development goals you can set to further your workplace success, and the exact goals you set should be dependent on your unique aspirations in terms of your career. Goals can be related to learning new skills, obtaining new degrees or certifications, getting more experience in a certain area, moving up in your workplace, and aiming for any other aspirations related to advancing your career.

    Why are professional development goals important?

    Setting professional development goals is important for several reasons, including the:

    • Give you an idea of your vision for your future: Many people know what they want to do in the next year, but do you know what your long-term career goals are? Where do you want to be in five or even 10 years? Establishing goals allows you to identify your long-term aspirations and begin to take action in reaching those aspirations.


    • Help you hone existing workplace skills: Even if you’re great at what you do, there is always room for improvement or advancement. The greatest athletes don’t simply rest on their laurels and use their current level of fitness to ride out their success. Rather, they regularly practice getting stronger and faster. The same is true in the workplace—working on honing your current skills allows you to get better and grow in new and different ways, which can ultimately make you a better employee and even more successful in your career.


    • Encourage you to become a better employee: Employers highly value employees who are dedicated to their jobs and the advancement of their careers. Rather than simply showing up to work and completing your duties for the day, taking time to get better at what you do will make a positive impression on your employer and could even open the door to advancement within your organization.


    • Improve productivity: Having a goal to work towards can provide a steady stream of motivation and boost your productivity in the workplace. This is especially true when you separate your goals into individual tasks and work to complete a task each day or week. Making progress, even when it’s small, can keep you motivated to push through and get the job done.
    How to set professional development goals

    The following are steps you can take when setting goals for your professional development:
    1. Decide what your end goal is. A good way to set goals for your professional development is to start with the end goal in mind. Where do you want to be in five or 10 years? What job title do you want to have? What company or industry do you want to work in? What accomplishments do you want to achieve? Knowing your end goal will allow you to work backward to create smaller goals that allow you to ultimately reach your larger professional goals.

    2. When in doubt, reference your most recent performance review. If you aren’t sure where to start or what areas you should work on professionally, take a look at your most recent performance evaluation and see what your manager or employer recommended you improve upon. For example, maybe one improvement your manager noted was to complete more tasks on time. This gives you a solid foundation on which to build a professional goal and also ensures your make the desired improvements as requested by management.

    3. Use the SMART goal method. The SMART goal method, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound, is a great tool to use when establishing goals. This method ensures your goals are both actionable, realistic, and able to be measured, all of which will keep you on track and motivated to reach your goal.

    4. Break your larger goals into smaller tasks. The more you can break your goals up into bite-sized tasks, the more likely you are to continue pursuing that goal. Take each larger goal you set and break it down into tasks you can complete each day or week to work towards that goal. Check off each task as you complete it to show you the progress you’re making.

    5. Regularly review your progress. It’s easy to lose sight of goals, especially if a goal you’re working on is more long-term. That’s why it’s important to regularly check in with yourself and review your progress. Realizing that you are making progress towards each goal will keep you motivated and also ensure you’re still on the right path to achieving each aspiration.

    Examples of professional development goals

    The following are several examples of goals you can set to further your professional development:

    • Improve your professional and networking relationships.
    • Improve your time management skills and productivity in the workplace.
    • Obtain a new certification or degree.
    • Grow your professional network by attending more networking events.
    • Read two professional development books a month.
    • Complete a leadership training course.
    • Improve your communication skills in the workplace.
    • Join one professional organization related to your current or dream career.
    • Increase your responsibilities and duties in the workplace.
    • Apply for a promotion within your organization.
    • Get to know how other departments in your organization function and consider volunteering an hour of your work week to help out in a new department.
    • Attend a workshop related to your current or dream job.
    • Choose one skill to improve and focus on that for a month.
    • Learn how to effectively give and receive feedback in the workplace.
    • Learn how to better manage your energy.
    • Develop a growth mindset.

    In the creative industry, everything can change in the blink of an eye – or the click of a mouse. So, how do you ensure your skills keep up with the latest technologies, trends, and standards? That’s the million-dollar question. Following are eight key career development tips to help you keep ahead of the curve.

    1. Figure out what you stink at

    While this isn’t groundbreaking career advice, it is important. If you have a professional weak point, fix it. Take it upon yourself to identify your skill gaps and work to fill their day in and day out. Once you correct one issue, move on to the next. As a creative professional, if you’re not willing to constantly improve your skill set, you’re in the wrong field. It takes passion to succeed in this industry and when you don’t have it, your weaknesses become more apparent as the days wear on.

    2. Learn something new every day

    In addition to getting better at what you know, it’s important to understand the things you don’t. For instance, if you are a web content writer and aren’t grasping why account services keep pushing for more social content, ask them. Get the inside scoop on what the client is looking for. Not only will it help you deliver more targeted work in the next round, but it also can help you better understand the needs of future clients.

    3. Become indispensable

    Did you hear through the office grapevine that your boss is looking for a writer who is familiar with video game culture? Offer to take up the task. When you can do something that no one else on the team can, like coding or optimizing content for the Web, you have an undeniable advantage, which helps to keep your position intact. The more of these “added benefits” you can master, the more valuable you become as an employee. The bottom line is if you want to get ahead in your career, you have to be willing to continually learn, adapt and improve.

    4. Engage those around you

    Are you a big fan of a fellow copywriter’s work? Invite that person to lunch so you can pick her brain. Are you fascinated with the impressive output of a particular graphic designer? Shoot him an email and ask about his process. When you engage with other creative professionals, you open yourself up to new ways of thinking.
    They could share a nugget of information that completely redefines your process or alters your method of delivery. Plus, you never know when the opportunity for collaboration may arise. That’s how some of the world’s most lucrative companies got their start – two people throwing their ideas at one another.

    5. Read more

    Whether it’s bookmarking a few blogs or picking up a new novel from your favorite author, we can all benefit from reading more. Don’t limit yourself to a specific field or specialty or you’ll miss out on a (literal) world full of information. As a writer, I always benefit from keeping up with the industries I’m writing for – from finance and healthcare to consumer goods and advertising. You never know when a new piece of knowledge might click to help you create a million-dollar campaign.

    6. Maintain a good work-life balance

    This one is a little harder because it’s not always in your control. However, a healthy work-life balance can make all the difference between a good career and a great one. Sure, you could stay an extra hour at the office and churn out work that isn’t due until tomorrow night. Or you could spend it with your family, get plenty of sleep and produce even better work the next morning.
    Too many of us have come to believe that “the brass” favor workaholics. However, I’ve come to find that many managers prefer individuals who keep work in check because employees who enjoy a life outside the office are often happier and more creative.

    7. Travel

    Again, I know that this piece of advice isn’t always in your control. But, it’s important nonetheless. Before I ventured out on The Great Agency Adventure, I had never been west of Chicago. Sure, I had ideas about what the rest of the country was like, but actually experiencing these places is much different. Whether you live in the city and take a weekend trip to the suburbs or you dwell in a small farming community and drive a few hours to Canada, any exploration can help your career development.
    We now live in a very interconnected world and it’s important to understand as many cultures as possible. In fact, this knowledge could mean the difference between producing a campaign that resonates with or offends a certain part of your audience.

    8. Be yourself, always

    No matter what field you work in or what job title you have, you should always be yourself. The minute you start pretending to be something you’re not is when your career development begins to descend. In most cases, a company hires you because they like your work and enjoy your personality. So don’t feel pressure to be someone you’re not. A strong work ethic and a good personality and an eagerness to learn will often transcend any shortcomings you may have.
    To end this post, I want to take a moment to thank The Creative Group for believing in and supporting my project. Their continued generosity played a big role in The Great Agency Adventure’s success and I’ll always be grateful for that. I also want to thank each and every one of you, who’ve followed along since day one. Your encouragement helped the project become bigger and better than I ever thought possible. So, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Take Control of Your Career Development If Your Company Doesn’t Care About It.

    So with this in mind, before you apply for your next job opportunity, accept a promotion or consider switching to another industry, I want to take the time now to help you by giving you your proverbial Career Wake Up Call, and saying STOP, dig deeper, and take the time now to find out who you really are, and what you really want to do, so your purpose and passion can line up with the activities that you’ll spend the next 10 years of your life doing.

    So with this in mind, let’s find out if you really need a change. Start by answering these simple questions:


    • Do you enjoy the nature of your job responsibilities?
    • Do you like the values and culture of your workplace?
    • Are you satisfied with your working hours?
    • Are you happy with your level of responsibility?
    • Understand what you’re evaluated on.
    • Solve your own blind spots.
    • Codify your learnings.
    • Increase your visibility with the C-suite.
    • Become an expert in an area of increasing importance to your company.
    • Seek good counsel and mentoring.



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    Hello! My name is Jereè Clark and I began this BLOG to share my journey as a Digital Marketing Agency owner while living in my purpose as a Woman unapologetically. As I start the process of mending the pieces of my career back together I want to share my journey and the process of where I am and where I am going in the Marketplace. Welcome to this #UnMended Process of becoming her. It's so uncomfortable at times for me to bare the deepest parts of myself but is so worth it in the end to see the woman I'll become. So Cheers to healing, and celebrating my freedom as a career driven woman, in faith, in life, and in love. May you also Soar & Grow in faith, life, and in love. Xo Jereè

    Mending the vow isn’t an easy task. It’s pressure, it’s finding the grit to find the grace in each area of your life to forgive, to heal, and to grow daily.

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