Here in the world of Leadership graduate studies, we’re big into professional development. Becoming the most effective, productive and creative versions of ourselves? It’s what we’re all about. ComLead students are always looking for the next new way to leverage our skills and hone in on what could make us even greater. Professional development? It’s in our blood.
The old buzzwords of professional development die hard: continuing education, mentoring and networking. And that’s great – they SHOULD stick around. If you’re looking to advance, those concepts are central. But if you’re looking to differentiate yourself in an employment market that is saturated with qualified candidates, it’s worth your time to explore new strategies.
In the professional development world of 2014, continuing education, conferences, mentoring, and networking are as important as ever. But today, it’s about how you integrate cutting-edge ways of communicating into that mix. Here are a few new Professional Development 2.0 tools to add to your already stellar repertoire:
Continuing education? Hungry for more conferences? Try Twitter
Big on Twitter right now are industry chats. Log on at the same time every week for conversations tailored to your work and needs. It’s like a global industry conference – but you can still be in bed in your jammies while you join in. Yep. Exactly.
Often these chats are sponsored by companies or industry giants. The goal is just to encourage conversation (and cultivate some good PR for the sponsor, sure) so why not get in on it? All you need to do is find the hashtag that aggregates tweeters’ inputs into one conversation – and then dive in!
If you’re in PR, for example join in on:
#u30pro – takes place on Thursday nights. Anyone can join in on this conversation which focuses on issues facing the Under 30 crowd.
#pr20chat – talk “PR 2.0″ on Tuesday evenings
#soloPR – Wednesday afternoons. If you’re an independent PR consultant, this one’s for you.
Make Your Network WORK
If you’re reading the ComLead blog, you probably already have a LinkedIn profile and it probably highlights just what a rockstar you are. So what now? Your personal page is out there. You have great content. It’s current, fresh and interesting. But is anyone even finding it?
Hmm… this sounds familiar.
You’re looking at the age-old (well… decade old, maybe) problem of poor search engine optimization, or SEO. If you have great content but it’s not being found by the right people, it’s time to do some strategic writing. You want your LinkedIn profile to be easily found by professionals looking for your relevant skill sets.
So do a bit of digging – read a handful of job posts and find the keywords you see most often. Are you in the world of nonprofit marketing, for example? OK – then those keywords might include “social media strategy,” “content management platforms,” “design experience,” or “storytelling.” Figure out the skills your future employer will be searching for, and make sure you’re using those important keywords on your LinkedIn profile.
If you don’t see yourself towards the top of the Google results page when you search for your name, keep investing time in your profile! The more complete it is and the more time you spend on LinkedIn, the higher Google will rank your page. Another important step, if you haven’t already taken it, is to create a custom URL for your LinkedIn page. It’s nothing fancy – it’s a simple tool built right into Linked – but it will take your profile from generic to custom in a minute.