A Professional Development Guide for Young Female Professionals
Today’s job market is more competitive than ever before, as with the rise of remote working, individuals need to compete with applicants from around the world to secure a job. To be successful in this competitive environment, creating a well-defined professional development plan is important. This is because a strong plan ensures that you understand your current strengths and weaknesses, acquire the necessary skills, and grow into a talented professional that any employer seeks to hire.
In this article by She Owns It, we’ll explore key steps young female professionals can utilize to create an effective professional development plan to achieve their career goals.
Assess Where You Stand
Assessing your current skill set is the preliminary step for creating a professional development plan. By conducting a thorough self-assessment, you’ll develop a strong understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, and, most importantly, areas for improvement, and here’s how to get started:
- Reflect on Your Credentials: Look back on your educational background, internships, and work experience and ascertain what more you need to achieve your professional goals. For instance, if you plan to switch your career field, pursuing an additional educational credential that complements your current experience will be the ideal choice.
- Seek Feedback: Family, friends, colleagues, and mentors are great resources for seeking feedback. Additionally, listening to their feedback will teach you how to accept constructive criticism and use it to improve yourself.
- Analyze Job Descriptions: Reviewing job descriptions for positions you aspire to apply to will provide a holistic idea regarding the skills and qualifications employers look for in ideal candidates.
- Check Your Credit: You may not know it, but employers use credit checks as part of their pre-employment screening. They do so for a number of reasons, including verifying your identity, gauging your ability to manage debt, and assessing your overall ability to be reliable. That said, find out what your current credit score is and work on ways to improve it, such as paying down debt. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to see how your credit is faring.
Shortlist Degrees to Pursue
Even if you have a few years of experience under your belt, being a young professional in your 20s provides you the flexibility of making a career change or further developing expertise in your chosen field. Here are a few great second-degree options that will teach you the skills currently in demand:
- Information Technology: As technology continues to drive innovation across industries, a degree in Information Technology can open doors to lucrative opportunities in the field of cybersecurity, programming, blockchain development, etc.
- Business Administration: For those aspiring to be managers at a young age, pursuing a degree in business administration can help to fast-track this goal. Hence, it is no surprise that this degree is one of the most searched on Google, as reported by Times Higher Education. Most business administration degrees offer numerous specializations such as marketing, accounting, operations, and more.
Pursuing your degree online will not only help save costs, but it’ll also make you complete industry certifications that are demanded by most employers when hiring candidates in 2023. A degree may also come in handy if you’re considering starting your own business, as you’ll gain the latest knowledge and skills needed in the field of your choice. One of the first steps for starting up is deciding on your business structure, such as an LLC, which is popular due to limited asset liability and operational flexibility. Research the best LLC formation services to help you affordably and reliably file all the required paperwork before moving forward.
Create SMART Goals
Once you have assessed your current standing and shortlisted degree options, Emeritus notes that it’s time to create SMART goals which help you stay on track to achieve your professional objectives, according to Emeritus. When creating goals, remember to make them realistic in terms of timelines, expectations, and outcomes. Here is an example of a good SMART goal – Within the next 12 months, I will complete my business administration degree and secure an internship with one of the Big 4 banks in the United States.
One of your goals should also be creating an informative and engaging website. A professional website can certainly benefit your career, as it gives recruiters and employers a convenient way to discover your credentials and get your contact information. It’s just as important to create content that will attract visitors to your site, best done by using SEO to rank higher in search engines. SEO is optimized when you regularly update the content, so be sure to carve out time every few days or at least once a week to add to your blog or other pages, and share content on your social media. To find out more about content creation strategies, read up on tips from sites that specialize in content marketing topics.
Update Your Resume to Stand Out
In addition to pursuing a degree, networking will be key to achieving your professional goals. An effective way to enhance your professional image and leave a lasting impression on recruiters is to create a professional-looking and easy-to-read resume. You’ll need to know what skills to list and what keywords to use to appeal specifically to each prospective employer. A new resume not only showcases your professionalism but provides recruiters with something tangible to remember you by.
Even if you aren’t great at design, various online tools can help you create one within a few clicks. Moreover, using pre-existing templates, you can easily customize colors, fonts, and designs based on your audience and stand out from the crowd.
In today’s competitive job market, it’s crucial to take charge of your career development by creating a well-defined plan. Assess your current skills, seek feedback, and analyze job descriptions to identify areas for improvement and align your goals with employer expectations. Additionally, designing a standout business card enhances your professional image and leaves a lasting impression on recruiters.
She Owns It empowers women to write their own success stories. Get inspired, by reading our interview series spotlighting successful women in business.
Melissa Stewart is the founder of SheOwnsIt.com. She is a Purveyor of Possibility, Entrepreneur Advocate and Coffee Addict. She believes that behind every successful woman is her story. What’s your story?