08.03.20164 min read

What to Do When Your Employer Doesn’t Offer Professional Development Opportunities

Even if you’re not aspiring for a spot in the C-suite, professional development is likely a major value in your career. It’s how you prove yourself worthy of promotion, of salary raises, and of increased responsibility. It’s also how you stay mentally stimulated and adaptive to the rapid pace of technical evolution.

And if you’re a millennial, this is especially true. Studies show that one of the key motivators in a millennial’s career is professional development; they want continuous learning and growth opportunities, and, furthermore, they believe their employers should be providing that.

Does that sound like you? If so, you can imagine how frustrating it would be to find that your employer doesn’t offer professional development opportunities. If that’s all too familiar of a situation, here’s what you can do.

Communicate with the boss

With the population of millennials surpassing every other generation in the workplace, it’s vital that employers understand the significance of their needs and values. Attracting top talent within the millennial generation is going to take new strategy, and that includes establishing programs for professional development.

Presenting the business case for such a program may be tricky depending on how open your employer is to feedback and communication. Opening their eyes to statistics—such as the fact that most millennials prefer development and work-life balance over financial reward— may be helpful. After all, millennials will soon be the ones to take on the evolving role of tech leadership.

But an even more impactful strategy may be to simply take initiative. Ask your boss about industry seminars, conferences, and tradeshows. Make sure they listen to your goals and your plan to achieve them via classes, training, or mentorship. Ask for opportunities to learn new skills or get involved in new projects. These tactics will help proactively build a culture of learning and professional development without putting a major burden on your employer.

Look outside your employer for opportunities

The workplace isn’t the only opportunity to develop yourself professionally. You can find many online classes, seminars, webinars, and more online. And many of them are free.

Look for MOOCs

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are offered by many high-level universities and educational companies. Stanford Online, Coursera, Udacity, and University of California, Berkeley, are just a few of the well-known ones.

Many of these courses are offered at no charge, requiring only that you have the time and ambition to complete them. You can even earn advanced degrees, and while many programs charge tuition fees, at least one—a master’s degree in computer science from Georgia Tech via Udacity—is free.

Volunteer your tech skills where they’re needed

If you have web development skills, for example, you could use them to help a local non-profit of your choice build a better website. Even though you may be using existing skills, it’s likely you’ll encounter challenges and situations that will give you new insight.

And while the things you learn may not be directly related to your skills, experience, and career goals, volunteering brings more people into your network and it improves your non-tech skills. In short, volunteering can be a great way to develop yourself professionally.

Seek out industry associations

If you’re not currently a member of any professional associations, you should take a look at ones that might interest you and explore the requirements for membership. Doing so not only expands your career network, many associations also provide their members with professional development opportunities and often at a fairly affordable/discounted rate. Many are online seminars, webinars, and courses, others are one- or two-day conferences. Regardless, you’re sure to discover extensive learning and professional development opportunities as a member of an industry association.

What this means for you

No matter what your career goals look like, professional development is a door-opener that will help you grow as a professional. If your current employer is unable to provide you with those learning opportunities, it’s clear that there are many other avenues to take.

This article originally appeared in CyberSearch.

This article was written by Michelle White from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Was this post helpful?
Created with Sketch.
Infusionsoft cornerstone spinner
close button
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter!

5 Reasons to Subscribe:

1. Weekly tips to dominate sales and marketing

At our core, we're focused on helping you become a sales and marketing machine. We tap into the genius of the best salesfolks and marketers out there to give you daily tips to grow your leads, make more sales, and keep more customers.

2. Expert small business resources that cost you zero dollars

Want to go deep? We have you covered with free guides, webinars, and tools on a range of topics from marketing automation, CRM, and digital marketing to building sales and marketing strategies from the ground up. All for free. All for you.

3. We're focused 100 percent on small business success

We exist for one reason: helping small businesses succeed. We give you the ideas and insights you need to blow the competition out of the water. We serve business owners who are hungry to put in the hard work to grow their business and own the market.

4. We do the work for you

Running a small business is a 110 percent endeavor. You don't have time to surf Internet for the best small business insights and ideas out there. We'll do that for you with the best original content from our team and from industry experts and small business owners.

5. But wait, there's more!

Small business success means more than just sales and marketing, so we also hit on a range of topics to help your small business thrive, including personal and business growth, customer service, and business management.

6. Righteous GIFs

OK, we said five reasons, but we like to overdeliver...and GIFs. We really like GIFs. You're bound to see some righteous ones.

GIF of Ferris Bueler principal's assistant

P.S. We'll never give out your information. We'll only use it to send you awesome content and resources, if you're cool with that.