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Professional Development On A Budget

Oct. 21, 2020 - Carrie Hawes

It is no secret COVID-19 has impacted all areas of work. This includes budgets, and unfortunately, professional development is often an area of spending that is cut. But a lack of fiscal resources doesn’t mean professional development ends. If you’re looking to re-think professional development this year, scroll down for a couple free or low cost ideas to consider during this time.

Start Reading
Many professional organizations publish white papers, blogs, and think pieces online for free. If there is a field you have an affinity for, read up. By digging into new best practices, current trends, and predicted future needs you can stay in tune with the needs of the field.  A few of our go-tos include the Project Management Institute’s Thought Leadership and SHRM’s Career Expert Insights

Also consider picking up a book from your local library about leadership development, Strengths, or emotional intelligence. Or check out papers published by faculty and staff at your local university. Here are VCU’s most current publications.

Create a career map
Career mapping is a great way to reflect on your previous experiences, skill development, and professional achievements. Starting with your first job(s), educational milestones, etc. create a map that shows your path to your current position. Include any impactful personal events as well (e.g. moving to a new city, stopping work to take care of a child). 

You can Google “career mapping examples” for some great visuals on how to organize your career map. But after creating it, now take time to reflect. What are themes you notice?  What is missing from this map you wish was there or want to see in the future? For instance, you may decide PMP certification is necessary to move into your next role. Or that taking a course on coaching will help you be a better manager.

Consider a coaching session
If you are a leader or manager interested in exploring your leadership effectiveness, a leadership coach is a great place to start.  Coaching enables managers and leaders to focus on capabilities that benefit the individual and the organization. Coaching increases your self-awareness and helps you better understand others. If you are interested in talking with a coach, the CCE can help.