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By Dave Crenshaw | Friday, January 25, 2013

Four steps to professional growth

Many of us understand the importance of investing money to make more money. A consistent investment strategy can help you gain a steady financial footing.

Do you have a similar plan to invest time in your professional development? Do you have a strategy to invest a little time to increase your value at your workplace?

I recommend these four steps to invest time in your professional development:

First, determine how much time, on a weekly basis, you are willing and have available to invest in your professional growth. For most people, somewhere between two and five hours a week is appropriate. Whatever you feel is appropriate, schedule that time in your calendar and set it aside as sacred.

Second, choose your area of focus. Pick an area where you don’t have responsibility yet or have yet to prove yourself. For instance, let’s say you’re a marketing assistant and want to become a marketing director. You may begin studying topics essential to becoming a marketing director and determining what types of projects and topics marketing directors initiate and manage.

Third, select your course materials for your area of focus. What do you need to study to reach your goal? As a lynda.com member, you have a wealth of classes to choose from in several areas. You can also create multiple playlists of courses that interest you and prioritize them to set learning goals. You might invest in relevant books and trade magazines or consult your local library for resources. You may also research software and company systems related to your desired position.

Fourth, make a commitment to deliver an assignment. Go to someone you know and respect and tell them what you are working on. Make a concrete commitment not only to the assignment, but also to a particular due date. Doing this will strengthen your personal commitment. It will also get the other person on your support team and possibly as an invested mentor.

These four steps are just a starting point for your professional growth. What other suggestions would you offer to help others invest in their own career? What actions have you taken that have helped you in your own career? Please comment on this page and I look forward to talking with you.

Interested in more?

• Courses by Dave Crenshaw on lynda.com • All lynda.com Career Development courses • All lynda.com Business courses

Suggested courses to watch next:

• Enhancing Your Productivity• Discovering Your Strengths• Building Your Professional Network

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