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Essential Professional Development Tips For University Students - Breakthrough

Essential Professional Development Tips For University Students

Professional development is the process of gaining knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in a chosen career path. Contrary to what some students believe, professional development is not only for those who plan to pursue higher education degrees. Engaging in professional development activities will help expand your professional knowledge, improve your job performance, and increase your compensation at work.

When you commit to professional development, you expose yourself to learning necessary life skills and surround yourself with the resources and people ready to help you advance in your field. Also, you will feel more equipped and confident in your abilities upon graduation. Interestingly, professional development activities can take place in any setting, such as online classes, conferences, networking events, and seminars. 

Professional development activities are not only beneficial to the students taking part in the learning process but also to the organizations offering such opportunities. The following tips can help you grow professionally and personally as you prepare for your future while in university. 

Research to Know the Skills You Need

Having the intangible qualities employers look out for is essential, but you need to develop outstanding job-specific skills in order to reach your career goals. To successfully improve yourself professionally, you must first research to identify the skills you actually want to develop. The internet is an excellent place to start. 

Many organizations post internship and job openings online and provide comprehensive lists of the competencies they expect from applicants. If you desire to work in a particular organization or at a specific level in your chosen field, use the information on relevant job postings to know what skills you need. Once you have identified the required skills and qualifications, you can start engaging in activities that will enable you to gain the necessary knowledge and experience to excel in that career path.

For instance, if learning web development will give you an advantage in a particular field, you can enroll in a website development program while in school. Interestingly, enrolling and excelling in such a class does not require much. According to BANG, a web developer in Phoenix, ” To be a web developer, talent and desire to understand how things work are excellent traits as there is a fair amount of problem-solving and troubleshooting that takes place during a website development project.”      

Attend Professional Conferences and Build Networks

University students can expand their personal and professional networks by participating in conferences that feature panels of future employers, industry leaders, and specialists. Such workshops and seminars can give students the opportunity to win recognized awards or prizes and network with people who are already excelling in their field of interest.

Networking during professional conferences is a great way to gain insight from other practicing professionals who have gone through the same process. Also, the contacts you make can serve as references in the future or inform them of valuable opportunities in their fields. Consider bringing printed copies of your resume to career-focused conferences. 

There are other ways to grow your network outside traditional conferences. You can contact recent graduates who are just a few years into their careers to give you insight into what to expect during your job search. They can offer helpful tips and strategies and even put you in touch with recruiters in their companies or other organizations. Also, you can engage in online networking by joining social media networking groups to keep in touch with others in your field and get helpful information about your industry of interest.      

Look Out for Opportunities 

While in school, actively seek opportunities that can benefit you in your chosen career. If you want to develop yourself, take charge and make things happen by being proactive. For instance, if you are interested in working at a library, walk up to somebody at the library and speak to them. You don’t have to wait until you see an ad for a position before making your move. Many jobs get filled without advertising because there’s no need to since people have already made themselves available for the jobs and proved their competencies. 

Consider taking advantage of the CUNY internship programs to gain experience and skills that can help you acquire a fulfilling job in civil service. Apart from seeking opportunities in organizations, consider creating your own. For instance, you can gain experiences and skills relevant to your field by starting an online course, photography business, or blog. Through these opportunities, you can improve your communication skills, leadership capability, or other soft skills beneficial in various industries.